Walls come down
They cleared the way for more sports with squash, tennis and now golf having returned. Former Asian Tour winner and Indian national Digvijay Singh said arriving in Pakistan felt like home, suggesting sport could pave the road for better relations between Islamabad and Delhi.
“I am really feeling home here and we are so overwhelmingly welcomed here. We are seeing the same faces not different to us,” Singh told reporters.
“Sports should bring the invisible walls down between the two countries,” he added.
India-Pakistan ties, including sports and cultural contacts, plummeted after deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militants.
While cricket remains the undisputed number one sport in Pakistan, golf is popular with the country’s powerful army, with military areas where the top brass reside frequently home to some of Pakistan’s best courses.
Pakistan’s Navy are hosting this week’s Asian Tour event, which has a $300,000 prize fund. “There is a very overwhelming response by foreign players and that surprised us,” said Naval Commodore Mushtaq Ahmed.
Pakistan hosted its first Asian Tour event in 1989, which was won by Filipino Frankie Minoza.
The country’s only Asian Tour winner remains Taimur Hussain who triumphed at an event in Myanmar in 1998.
Former Asian Tour winner and Indian national Digvijay Singh, speaks to media in Karachi on October 10. irds were released over fairways and ceremonial drives were struck as international golf returned to Pakistan on October 11 after an 11-year absence.