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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 07:53 GMT
Pakistan upset at Davis Cup switch
Aisam-ul-Haq
Aisam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan beat China
Pakistan has challenged the International Tennis Federation's decision to switch their Davis Cup tie to New Zealand.

The move was made after New Zealand expressed security concerns over playing matches in tennis' premier team event in Pakistan.

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) secretary Major Rashid Khan expressed his anger at what he feels is an "unwarranted" decision.

"We have lodged a strong protest against the ITF's decision to shift the Davis Cup Group tie from Pakistan to New Zealand over security reasons," he said.

"We feel huge disappointment. It's another great blow to our sports and we have already suffered a lot in the wake of 11 September events of last year.

"Even after things have improved we are being deprived of hosting sports. This is not on."

Pakistan had qualified for Group I after beating China in the Asia-Oceania Group II final at Peshawar, near the Afghan border, in an incident-free tie in September.

Khan questioned the reason given for the shift of venue for the tie, which was scheduled to be held in Lahore on 7-9 February.

Foreign fears

Cup regulations state a venue can only be changed if the host nation is at war or suffers from political unrest.

"We are neither at war, nor is there political unrest of any kind in our country," said Khan.

"Why the pretext of security?"

Sports in general - and cricket in particular - have suffered badly in Pakistan as foreign teams have refused to tour there since last year.

Two home cricket series had to be relocated to neutral venues after Australia and the West Indies refused to tour earlier this year.

When New Zealand rescheduled their tour, initially postponed after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, they left Pakistan early after a suicide bomb blast outside their hotel killed 14 people last May.

Hockey's Champions Trophy was shifted from Lahore to Rotterdam in the Netherlands last year.

Pakistan struggle to attract touring teams

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