Pakistan requires Islamic political will to overcome India off the Cricket pitch
Pakistan woke on Thursday to shattered dreams, broken hearts and lost hopes the night before the cricket team had lost in the World Cup Semi-Final to arch rivals India. In a purely Cricketing sense the team had succumbed under the huge expectation and pressure they must have been under. The game, quite possibly the biggest between the two nations had a lot more than sport riding on it though, with politicians and the media hyping it as the way in which to reach out to India and vice versa.
In sport, cricket is the lifeblood of the Pakistani masses, just like football in South America. Relief from adversity is often sought in sporting joy. Following the national team goes beyond simple nationalism, it is one of the very few chances that Pakistani’s get to stand as near equals with the rest of the world. Cricket somehow seems to make up for political failure.
Major sporting occasions have for decades been used for political propaganda. During the cold war the Soviet Union put massive resources into ensuring its athletes were more than competitive at the Olympics.
Therefore it was no surprise to see Yusuf Raza Gilani spend the majority of the match seated next to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. The game was a much touted opportunity for the two to sit and discuss politics, for the first in years. In truth political matters are not settled over a game of cricket, especially when Gilani was the obvious inferior in the meeting.
The India – Pakistan relationship isn’t in need of cricket diplomacy, it requires some political backbone from the Pakistani side. For years successive Pakistani governments have put the wishes of others before their own political gain, whether that be America in Kargil or NATO in Afghanistan. The issue of Kashmir is a simple one of Indian hegemony and it should be treated as such, the recent stepping up of the oppression of Kashmri Muslims clearly shows India’s policy in the region.
While most of the Pakistani cricketers will live to fight another day, the government in Pakistan has more than over stayed its welcome. When you fail to protect your own people from foreign attack it is clear the time has come to move on. Hours after the defeat on the cricket pitch, Pakistan was being bombed by NATO strikes in South Waziristan, injuring 5 people
The passion the Pakistani people have for cricket needs to be transferred in to accounting their rulers, just like the people of Egypt and Tunsia. The likes of Gilani and Zadari use cricket to increase their popularity, they care not for the people.
Only Islam can give the politics in Pakistan the true direction it needs to move forward and stand with the likes of India on a level footing on and off the cricket pitch.