Pakistan boycotts Chess Olympiad in India

Pakistan on Wednesday announced its withdrawal from the 44th Chess Olympiad being conducted by India after the host country passed the event’s torch relay through the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, officials told on Thursday.

The Olympiad is being held in Chennai city of India from July 28 to August 10 in which more than 1700 players from 188 nations of the world will take part.

The biennial tournament gets impressive representation from across the world, including notable players from Pakistan.

This year, however, things got serious after India passed the torch relay of the event through Srinagar, part of the disputed Kashmir region, on June 21.

“By passing the torch relay through Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir… India has committed a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“Pakistan condemns India’s mischievous attempt to mix politics with sports,” added the statement issued in Islamabad. “As a protest, Pakistan has decided not to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad and will also raise the matter with the International Chess Federation at the highest level.”

The Kashmir dispute has outlasted decades of violence and upheaval since the time of partition between India and Pakistan when both countries became independent in 1947.

The neighbours both claim the region in full and have fought two of their three wars over control of the territory.

“India must know that by such provocative and indefensible actions, it can neither seek nor claim international legitimacy for its unjustifiable, illegal and tyrannical occupation of IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] continuing for over 7 decades,” the statement noted.

On the contrary, a spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry called the move “surprising” and in turn accused Pakistan of politicising the event.

“I was told the team was already here,” Arindam Bagchi said.

Salma Khan
Salma writes on topics ranging from education to technology to business. She can be reached at Twitter and Facebook.

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