Pakistani cueists get visas for Asian meet

Apart from Asian number two and Pakistan’s third ranked snooker player Sajjad, current national champion Mohammad Shahid and Imran Shehzad will also feature in the eight-day long event.

Pakistan’s appearance in the event was put under a cloud due to visa issue but Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) vice-president and Madhya Pradesh Billiards and Snooker Association (MPBSA) president Bholu Mehta on Wednesday confirmed the participation of the top three players. “We have received the information from the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) that the three players have been issued visas by the Indian government,” Mehta said.

“This development will help improve bilateral sporting ties between the two countries,” he added.

Sajjad has been accorded the top billing in the championship, which will also see the cream of Indian cueists including Pankaj Advani and Yasin Merchant.

Advani and Merchant have been seeded second and third respectively in the Rs 3.5 lakh tournament to be played at the Yashwant Club.

The 44 players from 19 Asian countries will be vying for top honours. India and Pakistan have been working to restore their bilateral sporting relations through cricket and hockey diplomacy since the cricket World Cup semifinal between both the countries in Mohali.

The semifinal was watched by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani leading to softening of relations between the two nations.

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