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Pakistan Slams US & Other Nations For Diplomatic Boycott Of Games


New Delhi: The Pakistan Foreign Office has denounced the US and other nations’ planned diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, set for February next year, and has asked for politics to be kept out of sports, according to the Dawn.

‘Pakistan Opposes Any Form Of Politicisation Of Sports’

At a weekly media briefing, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said, “Pakistan opposes any form of politicisation of sports and hopes that all nations would come together in Beijing and afford their athletes the opportunity to compete against the best and showcase their skills.”

He was responding to allegations that the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia would not send representatives to Beijing in protest of the host country’s alleged human rights breaches and crackdown in Hong Kong. These countries, however, will not prevent their athletes from competing in the Games.

China has vehemently objected to the boycott announcements. Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, warned of “resolute counter-measures,” but did not specify what steps would be implemented. He also accused the United States of breaking the idea of “political neutrality in sport.”

Iftikhar also wished China success in hosting the Olympics in Beijing.

“We are confident that despite the limitations imposed by Covid-19, the Beijing Winter Olympics would offer a spectacular and colourful gala to sports enthusiasts around the world, including in Pakistan,” he further said.

Pakistan Decided Not To Attend US-Hosted ‘Summit For Democracy’

Pakistan’s rejection of the boycott attempts coincides with its decision not to attend the US-hosted ‘Summit for Democracy.’

Many felt Pakistan skipped the event because China had not been invited, despite the fact that Taiwan was on the guest list.

This image was reinforced when Zhao Lijian, in a Twitter post, praised Pakistan’s choice to remain out, calling it “a true iron brother.”

IOC Respects US Decision To Boycott Beijing Winter Olympic Games

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had stated that it “fully respects” the US government’s decision to boycott the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022.

In an issued statement, IOC said, “The presence of government officials and diplomats is a purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects. At the same time, this announcement also makes clear that the Olympic Games and the participation of the athletes are beyond politics, and we welcome this.”

(With inputs from IANS)



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