11/30/2012, 00.00
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Cricket diplomacy allows 3,000 Pakistani fans to see matches in India

This is the first time since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that Pakistani cricket aficionados are allowed to see their team play in India. Matches will be played between 25 December and 6 January.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For the first time in five years, Pakistan cricket fans will be able to see their team play in India. New Delhi has in fact announced that it will issue 3,000 short-term visas to allow into the country Pakistanis who want to watch India-Pakistan matches. This move represents a further state in the process of rapprochement between the two countries, abruptly cut following the 2008 bombings in Mumbai.

Matches will be played in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmadabad and Bangalore, between 25 December and 6 January.

One third of all 3,000 visas will go to visitors interested in the Delhi match; 500 will go to each of the other matches.

In the past five years, the two teams have challenged each other but never at home. The last match was held in September in Sri Lanka, when they played the last sixteen at the ICC World Twenty20, Sri Lanka 2012.

The Mumbai bombings, which left 166 people dead, are dark chapter in the recent history of India-Pakistan relations.

At the time of the attack, New Delhi accused Islamabad of links with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), the terrorist organisation held responsible for the attacks. The group is fighting for Kashmir's liberation.

Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who survived the bombings, was executed last 21 November.


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