The Pakistan foreign office has criticised the planned diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing scheduled in February next year by the US and some other countries, and called for keeping politics out of sports, the Dawn reported."Pakistan opposes any form of politicisation of sports and hopes that all nations would come together in Beijing and afford their athletes the opportunity to compete against the best and showcase their skills," foreign office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said at a weekly media briefing.He was commenting on reports that the US, Canada, the UK and Australia would not send their officials to Beijing in protest against the host country's alleged human rights violations as well as crackdown in Hong Kong. These countries would, however, not stop their athletes from participating in the Games.China had reacted strongly to the boycott announcements.
Chinese foreign ministry's spokesman Zhao Lijian warned of "resolute counter-measures", but did not specify what actions could be taken. He had also accused the US of violating the principle of "political neutrality in sport".Iftikhar also wished China success in hosting Beijing Olympics."We are confident that despite the limitations imposed by Covid-19, the Beijing Winter Olympics would offer a spectacular and colourful gala to sports enthusiasts around the world, including in Pakistan," he said, the report said.Pakistan's criticism of the boycott moves closely follows its decision about not attending the ‘Summit for Democracy' being hosted by the US.Many believed Pakistan decided to skip the event because China had not been invited, while Taiwan was on the guest list.This impression was further strengthened when Zhao Lijian, in a Twitter posting, hailed Pakistan's decision to stay out by saying: "A real iron brother."