Pakistan shooters granted visas for New Delhi World Cup
Pakistan's shooters were Monday granted visas to participate in the New Delhi World Cup, a top Indian shooting official told PTI, ending speculation about their presence in the event in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack.
The ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) event, which will offer 16 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, starts at the Dr Karni Singh Range on Thursday.
"Their visa has been cleared and we have received communication from the Indian High Commission and the Pakistan shooting federation. The two shooters and the manager's tickets are also being booked," National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajiv Bhatia told PTI.
Earlier, the terrorist attack had cast a doubt over Pakistan shooters' participation in the World Cup, with the country's federation saying in Karachi that it would not send its marksmen if the visas don't come through by this evening.
At least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed while several others injured in what is being termed as the deadliest terrorist strike in three decades in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian government had given clearance for the applications, but that was before last Thursday's dastardly attack.
Pakistan applied for visas for two shooters in the rapid fire category -- GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed -- for the World Cup.
Pakistan's National Rifle Shooting Federation President Razi Ahmed had earlier said that the secretary of NRAI had assured him that visas would be granted since the Indian home ministry has given its clearance.
He added that air tickets had been booked and NOCs (No Objection Certificates) obtained for taking the ammunition to New Delhi for use in the championship.