Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has said he could not see bilateral series against India happening anytime soon as the political turmoil between the two countries continues. The 83-year-old stressed that though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was not against the series, they require its government's approval to play against Pakistan anywhere outside International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments.
In 2014, both - BCCI and PCB - signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which stated that the two arch-rivals would play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.
According to the 2014 agreement, India was scheduled to play six series against Pakistan, four of them were going to be Pakistan's home series.
While the BCCI has repeatedly snubbed Pakistan's request for resumption of ties, the PCB wants its Indian counterpart to honour its commitment under the MoU signed, which is subjected to clearance from the Government of India.
And Shaharyar admitted that absence of bilateral series between India and Pakistan is solely because of political tensions and that it has nothing to do with the cricketing boards of the two arch-rivals.
"The real reason behind the absence of India and Pakistan bilateral series is political and has nothing to do with either the PCB or the BCCI. In the current political climate, I really do not see any way in the near future that both teams will be able to play each other. The fact of the matter is that we have always been willing to play India anywhere, but it's the government of India who have prevented the BCCI from playing against us and there is not much we can do about that," Pakpassion.net quoted Shaharyar, as saying.
The former PCB chairman also called on its Indian counterpart to try their level best to convince their government to resume the cricket relations against Pakistan.
"I know for a fact that BCCI tried to convince their government and explained to them that there would be a loss of revenue for both India and Pakistan. However, the Government of India has stuck by its stand that unless the political climate improves; there can be no resumption of cricketing relations between both countries. They will simply not allow it," he added.
Shaharyar concluded by saying that he hoped things could change at some point in time, but he could not see India playing Test or limited-overs against Pakistan in the foreseeable future.
"I am hopeful for the future and hope things can change but at this time, there is no chance of any Pakistan-India cricket contact in a bilateral context," he said.
"We will continue to play India in ICC tournaments as we did in the Champions Trophy and so on, but no Test or limited-overs series will be played between the two countries in the foreseeable future," he added.
Despite not playing a full-fledged bilateral series against Pakistan since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, the arch-rivals have played each other a number of times in the ICC events, with the most recent coming at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Although, Pakistan did tour India for a short series in December 2012.
Pakistan was expected to generate the bulk of revenue in these eight years by hosting India, but since BCCI denied playing the series in wake of tensions between the two countries, the PCB suffered huge financial losses due to it.
Earlier this year, BCCI had rejected the PCB's demand for compensation for not honouring the MoU, saying that the MoU was not binding and also raised the issue of security problems in Pakistan.
In May, the PCB had sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart for failing to honour the MoU.
Recently, the Najam Sethi-led board said that they would only approve the new Future Tours Programme (FTP), proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the dispute with India over the resumption of bilateral series is resolved.
(With Agency Inputs)