Pakistan's leading cricketers will not be allowed to travel to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) because of the government's concerns over security, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday.
Saleem Altaf, PCB chief operating officer, said the foreign ministry had written to the board advising it not to send Pakistani players to India for any IPL event.
"We have informed the IPL and Indian board that our players can't take part in the IPL this year," Altaf told Reuters.
Around a dozen Pakistani cricketers are signed up with different franchises in the IPL while five others, including leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, were entered in a players auction to be held in Goa on Thursday.
The Geo TV channel reported the foreign ministry saying that it had only given the advice based on security concerns for the players, but the final decision had to be taken by the PCB.
Altaf said they had sought clearance from the sport ministry for allowing cricketers to travel to India because of the tense relations between Pakistan and India after the Mumbai militant attacks in November.
"The sports ministry said it would give clearance but the foreign ministry has told us it would not be advisable to send players to India at this time," Altaf said.
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who plays for Delhi, said the players would abide by the directives of the government and board.
"It is disappointing but something we have to accept given the prevailing circumstances," he said.
Pakistani players were a major draw in the first IPL tournament with all-rounder Sohail Tanvir guiding his Rajasthan Royals to the title and winning the best bowler award.
The Indian government had stopped its team from undertaking a test tour of Pakistan in January after the Mumbai attacks.
Later the Pakistani sports ministry refused to give permission to the national hockey and squash teams to travel to India for international events.