KARACHI - Pakistan cricket chief Shaharyar Khan Friday admitted the inconclusive inquiry into the 2008 Mumbai attacks was a major hurdle in the reviving sporting ties between the arch-rivals.

India stalled all bilateral ties in the wake of the attacks on India's commercial hub, which left 166 people dead and were blamed on Pakistan-based militants. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its counterpart the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have signed an agreement to play six series in the next eight years, the first to be hosted by Pakistan in December 2015. But these series are still subject to New Delhi's clearance.

Pakistani domestic team Lahore Lions are also due to feature in the Champions League Twenty20 event in India from September 13 but reports suggest their participation remains doubtful amid recent border tensions. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said Mumbai remained the key hurdle. "We usually have tension on the border but the real thing is that their public is against us because of the Mumbai attacks," he told reporters. "They say that there is no progress on the investigation. Until and unless the case is closed the ties will remain affected."

Pakistan indicted seven people over the Mumbai attacks but their trial, which began in 2009, has made little headway, prompting Indian accusations that the process was a sham. But Khan played down doubts over Lahore Lions' participation in the CL as "rumours". Khan, a former diplomat who was born in Bhopal in the undivided India in 1934, said he would resume talks with BCCI and Indian government officials. 

"I will go to India soon and will also meet their officials on the sidelines of the ICC (International Cricket Council) meeting in Dubai and I have good relations with all of them in India," he said. Pakistan team toured India for a two Twenty20 and three one-day international match series but that failed to resume the full ties. India's last full bilateral tour to Pakistan was in 2006.

BCCI yet to get clearance from Indian government: With increased tensions at the border and a drop in Indo-Pak relations at the political level, the participation of Lahore Lions is looking increasingly unlikely in this year’s edition of Champions League T20.

Lahore Lions are one of the four teams which are scheduled to play in the qualifying stage of CLT20 from September 13. However, with relations going downhill, BCCI is fast giving up hopes of getting the permission from centre for the Lions’ participation. BCCI is yet to get the approval from the centre for the team’s participation, but hasn’t received a reply since writing to the home ministry 3 weeks ago.

“We know what is happening. The scheduled talks were called off and the situation is tense at the border. In such a charged-up atmosphere, how can we go to the government again,” a top board official told Mumbai Mirror. Other than the Lions, Mumbai Indians (Ind), Northern Knights (NZ) and Southern Express (SL) are the remaining teams slotted to compete in the qualifiers. The Mirror states that at such a short notice, BCCI is unlikely to name a replacement and may tweak the schedule to accommodate a 3-team qualifying round. 2 teams will go forward to the main round which begins on September 16. All qualifiers were earlier scheduled from September 13-16 in Raipur. Despite the scenario, Lions posted on their Twitter account that they were expecting the clearance from BCCI soon.