Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has pointed fingers at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian politicians for the long-standing impasse in bilateral cricket between the Asian neighbours.
Mani, who was recently elected unopposed as PCB chairman, said BCCI's stance on the cricketing ties is "hypocritical" while pointing out the frequent meetings between the two teams in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments.
India and Pakistan haven't played bilateral cricket series since the latter's trip across the border for a three-match ODI series in 2013. Nonetheless, the two teams have often met at multi-team tournaments, including the World T20, Asia Cup, Champions Trophy and the Cricket World Cup.
The PCB had also approached the ICC Disputes Resolution Forum, seeking a compensation of Rs 447 crore from the BCCI over not honouring a MoU, according to which India and Pakistan were slated to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.
Mani insists cricket fans from either side of the border are more than eager to watch the arch-rivals in action but conceded he isn't hopeful of the situation getting better, especially in the lead up to the 2019 general elections in India.
"Indian public obviously love to see India and Pakistan playing, and so does the Pakistan public. Rest of the work is of the politicians and frankly, once India is in the lead-up to its elections next year, so I don't think there will be any softening in their attitude," Mani told ESPNCricinfo.
"But in the long term, the people want it and you can't go against the will of the people forever. There is a lot of hypocrisy at the moment. India plays an ICC event against us but doesn't play a bilateral series. That is something that we need to address."
Notably, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier this year ruled out the possibility of bilateral cricket between the two countries in the near future, citing the rise in cross-border tensions.
The BCCI has made it clear that it would want Indian government's go-ahead for hosting or playing bilateral cricket series with the Pakistan cricket team.
The political tensions between the two countries resulted in Asia Cup being shifted out of India to the United Arab Emirates.
Money isn't the issue: Mani
Meanwhile, Mani insisted PCB's eagerness to see bilateral cricket played between the two countries is not due to the lure of money but for the benefit of the game.
It is safe to say both the Indian and Pakistan cricket boards are losing out on quite a lot of money due to its inability to make better use of one of the fiercest rivalries in sport.
"Money isn't the issue, it's more about the game," he said. "There are more viewers for an India-Pakistan match than any other match in the world. So, if the Indian government decides to deprive its own citizens of watching an India-Pakistan match then that is their choice," Mani insisted.
"There's no better way to improve the relations between countries than having sporting contacts, cultural contacts. For me, that is far more important than any amount of money that comes into the game."
Mani, who was instrumental in convincing the Indian government to send the Asian giants for their first full tour of Pakistan in 15 years in 2004, insists he would have not approached the Dispute Resolution Forum and would rather prefer to engage in a dialogue with the BCCI over the resumption of bilateral cricket ties.
Notably, in 2015, the then PCB boss Najam Sethi had flown down to meet the then BCCI president Shashank Manohar over talks for bilateral cricket resumption.
However, Sethi was forced to fly back as the talks were cancelled after right-wing groups attacked the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.