ISLAMABAD      -      Pakistan’s ace international tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi Saturday lashes out at Indian tennis players and former stars for their lame excuses and expressing fears about travelling to Pakistan to play Asia-Oceania Group-I Davis Cup tie to be held in Islamabad next month.

He said these players had visited Pakistan several times and had enjoyed the hospitality of the Pakistan Tennis Federation and people of Pakistan but now for no reason, they are making hue and cry.

Talking exclusively to The Nation from the USA, where he will play the year’s last Grand Slam, US Open, Aisam said: “It is disgusting and shameful that India started military operation in Occupied Kashmir. They are responsible for gross human rights violation in IHK and are the ones who are oppressors. We had already paid a very heavy price of terrorism and the undone crimes. Pakistan remains always at the receiving end despite making huge sacrifices for world peace. Our sports and our people have to suffer for last decade or so when International Tennis Federation had banned Davis Cup matches to be host by Pakistan. Now when ITF security team had visited Pakistan and has shown satisfaction with the arrangements made by Pakistan government and the PTF had assured that Indian delegation will get red box security, then why they are making lame excuses?”

Aisam said the ITF must take strict action against India if they keep on using lame excuses and according to ITF rules they must award Davis Cup tie to Pakistan.

He urged the Indian players to use some commonsense as they have visited Pakistan in the past as well and were fully aware of the fact that it was Pakistan, who was suffering for Indian deeds.

“India have far better and balanced side than Pakistan and on paper are more than 100 percent sure to win the tie. They have players who are in top 100 and top 200 and in top 50 and are playing ATP and other major tournaments round the year. On paper, we are highly underdogs and have almost zero percent chances. But we are never afraid of playing any given opponent. It would be great occasion and a message to international community that Pakistan and India are playing Davis Cup. They will never forget the hospitality and love given by the people of Pakistan and will feel like home and it will be good for the tennis and people of both countries as well.”

“We have suffered already for others deeds and now those who have inflicted miseries to the people of Kashmir must pay the price. If Indian team doesn’t want to come to play in Pakistan then the ITF must apply its rules simply. The world has to realise the sacrifices people of Pakistan, armed forces of Pakistan and sportsmen of Pakistan have to pay for war, which was always imposed on us. We are sports-loving and highly peaceful nation and we want to play sports and don’t believe in bringing politics into sports and expect same from others. Indian friends know that we always welcome them with open arms. I haven’t contacted Bhopana and other Indian tennis friends yet, but if I have to talk to them, for the sake of tennis and country, I am ready to play my role. But I once again remind ITF and India that Pakistan should not be punished for others deeds.”

Aisam said he and Aqeel have played for decades and know each other’s game as partners for last several years and always delivered for Pakistan and tennis. “I invited Aqeel to remain with me in Europe and it helped both of us. After long time, I played mixed doubles semi-finals at French Open and my performances were excellent while Aqeel also enjoyed and learnt a great deal and won the national tournament upon his return to Pakistan. As far as depth in Pakistan Davis Cup team is concerned, we don’t have any cover for me or Aqeel. But like I said, even if I have to go through pain barrier, I will do that and help Pakistan win the Davis Cup tie against India. My message for India and ITF is very clear. Come to Pakistan and feel the difference and don’t bow down to unwanted pressure. I know Indian team and their federation is facing huge pressure but they must fulfill their international obligations. I can assure them complete security and moments they will cherish for the rest of their lives,” Aisam concluded.