PAKISTAN FORCED TO FORGET CRICKET, BUT TRY TO CLEAN UP ITS OWN TERRORIST ASSETS

Pakistan’s Pulwama adventure has cost it dear in Kashmir Valley, with Indian Air Force decimating the Jaish-e-Mahammed super terrorist outfit in a precise operation on Tuesday, Februrary 26.

China might have been protecting Pakistani terrorist, Azhar Mahmud, and the Jaish at the United Nations Security Council in spite of worldwide condemnation.

There is price to pay with 200 to 300 hardcore marauders killed in a well-orchestrated Indian air strike. Pakistan could now forget World Cup
cricket and think of winding up its army’s assets, which are mischievous to the core. The willow is a distant dream.

As Pakistan has wrapped itself up yet again in terrorism as a sort of birthright, does it expect that it would be allowed by the world community to be a competitor in the World Cup in June this year in England?

The India team captain, Virat Kohli, says it will abide by decisions of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and the Government of the day.

The question is whether the present government, which will complete its term of office on May 25, would be in a position to decide on this issue whether India can play a game with Pakistan a few months later.

It does not yet know, perhaps does not need to bother with it, whether it will be re-elected with a majority of its own or with coalition partners.

It would, therefore, leave the decision to the new government whatever its complexion.

Will the BCCI be in a position to state that it will go by the mood of the people of India on this issue? Is Pakistan capable of providing credible assurances of peaceful matches because some matches were disturbed by hooligans of Pakistani vintage at certain venues in England last year?

Pakistan has not yet renounced terrorism, nor has it renounced cricket where bloodthirsty overtones are visible and fanaticism is at play in the viewers’ galleries or lanes behind, though Pakistani cricketers on the 22 yards of the pitch and playing field are less aggressive.

Pakistan may be invoking its right to play on the basis of 1999 World Cup when the Kargil war was in the works, but it managed to enter the fray.

Who was the Indian Prime Minister then?

It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was being quietly deceived about the intrusion and attack on the snow-bound mountains. That was surely not cricket; nor are mountain guns and forbidding altitudes; yet Musharraf the dictator or army chief was masterminding the mischief and telling or not telling his Prime Minister that it was par for the course to play war games, real ones and not military exercises.

After Pulwama’s suicide bombs’ laden with 350 kilogram of explosives in Kashmir Valley a couple of weeks ago, the story is being repeated.

Is cricket or the World Cup on the people’s mind? It may or may not be, yet cricket is being played all the time in country after country.

Pakistan has not played cricket on its soil because no country wants to go there and have cricketers spill their blood as peace is absent and anti-India war of words are rampant.

So where do they go? U.A.E is their new playground, acceptable to the cricketing nations; Pakistanis find hardly any other hosts around the world, but they grudgingly accept Dubai as a token or dummy venue. In view of the fact that Pakistani soil cannot be used for the red or white ball for Tests or shorter versions, does it qualify to remain a cricketing nation in the true sense of the world?

That is a question being popped up before the International Cricket Council (ICC), which also operates from its Dubai headquarters. Does the ICC now face a Hobson’s choice in allowing Pakistan to enter the World Cup as the terrorism issue is one that cannot be overlooked?

Pakistan is always in denial mode as the hotbed of terrorism. So it is not expected to graciously bow out of the World Cup to save the ICC the option of banning it from playing it or India refusing to play it at any stage of the game.

The calling off of Pakistan’s terrorist bluff by IAF is a new moment of truth for a country pretending to be a champion of Islamist terrorism.

LALIT SETHI IS A JOURNALIST OF LONG STANDING AND A COMMENTATOR ON POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES.

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