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Indian Broadcaster Withdraws From Pakistan Cricket Tournament Over Kashmir Attack

Cricket players of Islamabad United celebrate their victory in the final of the Pakistan Super League in 2018.
Cricket players of Islamabad United celebrate their victory in the final of the Pakistan Super League in 2018.

Indian broadcaster IMG Reliance has informed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that it will withdraw from its contract to produce coverage of the Pakistan Twenty20 league following a recent deadly terror attack in Kashmir.

"Due to unfortunate events a couple of days back which resulted in the death of Indian soldiers, IMG Reliance is pulling out with immediate effect, from offering broadcast production services for [the Pakistan Super League, or PSL]," a letter sent to the PCB said, Indian media outlets reported on February 17.

A suicide bomber killed at least 41 Indian paramilitary police officers in Kashmir on February 14 in the deadliest attack in decades on security forces in the disputed region.

The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force on Jammu and Kashmir's main highway, local news reports say.

Following the attack, India demanded that Pakistan "stop supporting terrorists and terror groups" who use Pakistan as a base and "dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries."

Arun Jaitley, a senior minister in Modi's cabinet, told a live TV broadcast on February 15 that India would retaliate, asserting that New Delhi has "incontrovertible evidence" of Pakistan's involvement in the attack.
Pakistan said the attack was of "grave concern," but rejected suggestions that it was involved.

India has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two nuclear archrivals but claimed in full by both since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

IMG Reliance had been televising the Pakistan Super League, which is playing matches in the United Arab Emirates because of security concerns in Pakistan. It was also due to produce telecasts of the final knockout matches scheduled to be held in Karachi and Lahore next month.

As the only producers of the event, IMG’s pullout could mean the Super League matches will not be broadcast, although Pakistani cricket officials say they would announce new broadcasters for the tournament on February 18.

Cricket is a wildly popular sport in the region and closely followed on television.

With reporting by AFP, The Indian Express, and India Today
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