NEW DELHI – Despite tall claims about secularism and protecting liberal values, the government of India has denied visa to two brothers who are part of the Netherlands team merely for having Pakistani background.

Sikander and Saqib Zulfiqar had to tour India as part of the Dutch team, however, they were not issued visas on time contrary to their fellows who received approval within the stipulated time.

The duo was born in the Netherlands, they don’t have dual nationality, their father Asad Zulfiqar has been living in the country for more than three decades, however, the Pakistani heritage of the cricketers delayed their visa processing, making it impossible for them to visit the country.

We do not have dual nationality and our father does not have a criminal record or anything in Pakistan, said Saqib Zulfiqar as he deplored the discrimination meted out to him.

The cricketer expressed that he was not even aware of what was exactly going on between India and Pakistan.

The distressed athlete expressed that he had arranged everything for this trip with his internship but the opportunity was taken away from him.

The Dutch cricket team is visiting Asia these days. Until 18 February, the Dutch will stay in Oman and play against Oman, Scotland and Ireland. After that, a selection with a number of talents will travel to India, where they will practice against some strong Indian teams.

Roland Lefebvre, a former top player in the Netherlands and now a high-performance manager at the Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond (KNCB) expressed disappointment at the attitude of India adding that it was annoying for the cricketers.

‘If we are not welcome with a full team, does it make sense to go to India? Or do we choose Sri Lanka? Yes, that is a serious consideration,’ Lefebvre added.

India’s ‘double standards’ stand exposed as Saqib and Sikander Zulfiqar along with their brother Asad became the first triplets to play a cricket match in 2018 and gained international recognition, however, their Pakistani link became a reason for India to deny them visas.

India and Pakistan are engaged on multiple fronts owing to conflicts stemming out of demarcation issues, however, New Delhi has been consistently targeting cricketers and artists from Pakistan, blocking any chance of detente between the South Asian countries.