The Indian government has made it clear that Pakistani players will not be allowed to participate in the Pro Kabaddi League unless the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terrorism. The fifth season of the PKL will begin on June 25 with a match between Puneri Paltans and Telugu Titans in Pune.
After Sports minister Vijay Goel directly denied Pakistan players permission, none of the 12 franchises showed any interest in bidding for the 10 Pakistan players who featured in the players' auction for Season-5 held in New Delhi yesterday.
The diplomatic tension between the two Asian neighbours has increased after a Pakistan military court pronounced death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav for espionage. Jadhav was arrested on March 3 last year but International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered a stay on the execution.
"They (organisers) can call them but they can't make them play. Even if they are selected, it is the Government of India which will decide whether they are allowed or not. Unless Pakistan gets rid of terrorism, it is impossible to play with Pakistan,” Goel said.
Pakistan is a top Kabaddi-playing nation, having won two silver medals and five bronze at the Asian Games. Three players from Pakistan participated in the inaugural edition in 2014, including Wasim Sajjad, who even led Patna Pirates on multiple occasions.