Posts Tagged terrorist attacks
The next few days bring an uncanny excitement to Pakistan cricket fans. We have seen captains changing, disasters wrecking sport in the nation and political and social turmoil affecting the morale of the Pakistani public and cricketers, but the next few days can improve the situation for everyone who has some kind of association with Pakistan.
A new leader is at the helm in the form of Younis Khan, a generally respected figure. Younis is one of the few stars of Pakistan cricket of the past decade who have not been involved in scandals or disgraceful incidents. Across the world Younis Khan is known as a friendly, caring individual who is deeply patriotic about his country and passionate about his culture, but who does not let that come in the way of respecting other countries and cultures. Although it is too early to speak in favour of or against Younis’s captaincy, he needs to lead with relentless aggression because that is the only way Pakistan can become a top side.
The top performers for Pakistan going into this series are Younis and Umar Gul. Whereas
Younis has been Pakistan’s best batsmen for almost 2 years now, Gul has been Pakistan’s best bowler for almost the same duration. Apart from testing Younis’s captaincy skills, this series will also test his character when it comes to batting. Younis only averages 16 against Australia in ODI’s and he needs to improve that figure.
Gul needs to bowl with fire and aggression. If he can extract the right bounce, bowl quick and use reverse swing, he can cause Australia plenty of problems.
LOOK OUT FOR…………….
Shahid Khan Afridi: Afridi has been in good domestic form and made an impact both with bowling and batting in the recent RBS One Day Cup. If Afridi can get into some kind of batting form, he will be a force to be reckoned with in this series. He is going into this series as Pakistan’s most reliable spinner.
Sohail Tanvir: Tanvir got into some form in recent tournaments after consulting Javed Miandad. He started with a bang and he needs to retain the same attitude. If he can bowl with pace he will trouble some Australian batsmen.
Nasir Jamshed: Younis reportedly prefers Ahmed Shahzad over Nasir Jamshed, not least because of obtaining the right hand/left hand opening combination with Salman Butt. However, Nasir has more experience and has impressed to some degree so far in international cricket. He needs to bat with confidence and play his natural game. A good series against Australia will guarantee him selecton in the team at least for another year.
Australia will be banking on captain Clarke, all rounder Symonds, keeper Haddin and medium pacer Bracken.
Symonds averages 62 against Pakistan in ODI’s which is his highest average against any Test playing nation. Haddin is averaging 43 this year. Clarke is going into this series as Australia’s best batsman. Bracken is amongst the best ODI bowlers in the world, although against South Africa he was not in his best form.
A lot of Pakistan fans are predicting a series win for Pakistan, and some are also saying that Pakistan will end up winning 2 matches. Australia cannot be underestimated and in fact the LS Management is doubting Pakistan’s potential, although they acknowledge this potential. Players like Hauritz and Shane Watson have the ability to turn matches around single handedly. Hauritz was the Man of the Match in the last match against South Africa, so he is in form.
The biggest advantage to Australia which is also Pakistan’s biggest disadvantage, is that some consistency can be expected from the Aussies. Clarke can bank on knowing the limits to what his players can and cannot do. Younis will be less sure of his team’s potential, but his job is just to offer support to his players and persuade them to play positive and aggressive cricket.
Pakistan cricket thrives on uncertainty. The fans expect the unexpected. That has been the pulse of Pakistan cricket for a long time. Today Pakistan is devoid of legends like Wasim, Waqar, Imran and Miandad. The problem I have with Younis and Qadir’s management is that we are only seeing 1 or 2 new players in this squad. Barring Nasir Jamshed, Ahmad Shahzad and Fawad Alam, all of these players have been tried and tested. When his career ends Younis will probably be considered a legend, but ODI cricket has not been his forte until very recently. So, none of the players in this squad are capable of emulating the feats of Saeed Anwar, Miandad or Wasim Akram.
However, playing under a new captain and in home-like conditions, still offers limited hope to Pakistanis. Younis will be in the spotlight because he has supported playing these tried and tested players. Now it is upto Younis Khan to create some magic and create history by leading his team to a series victory against a formidable side, a win which will go in history books as the revival of Pakistan cricket. A loss is expected, but a win will transform the morale of a bruised nation, and an emotionally battered people. This is Pakistan’s chance to make a difference.
03/03/2009 will be remembered as the darkest day in Pakistan cricket’s history. As the world watches in disbelief, some cowards sitting somewhere will be celebrating because they have achieved their objectives, at least for the short term. No international team will visit Pakistan in the forseeable future and only a miracle can save Pakistan from this mess. The irony, of course, always is that the terrorists wanted this to happen, and life is so sacred that no foreign team will be willing to risk their lives for the sake of defeating the terrorists’ nefarious objectives. Does this make it an unwinnable war against terror, because no one will (perhaps rightfully) ever want to visit Pakistan following this barbaric act?
Terrorism has no religion and no borders. After the events of today as some Indians passionately rejected any possibility of an Indian hand in this atrocity, they asked what India would achieve by doing this? Someone can easily ask, what would Pakistanis or Muslims achieve by doing this? After the endless list of all terror attacks that have happened across the globe following 9/11, could patriotic Pakistanis, or Muslims risk tainting the name of their country and/or religion by engaging in these activities? At the moment most Pakistanis are simply thinking about where they will get their next meal from, and under these circumstances what possible terrorist motives could they have?
Yet Pakistan has been a breeding ground for terror. The current and previous governments disclosed venues that were being used for nurturing extremism. Somehow, people on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan are planning attacks against Pakistanis. The world has to realise that Pakistan is more a victim of terror, rather than a perpetrator of terror. Pakistan has 100,000 troops fighting the Taliban on the border; that is probably the largest army any country has spared to fight extremism. Yet, why is the global media so keen on linking Pakistanis and Muslims with terror? Terrorist attacks occur in Pakistan almost everyday, so much so that now it is considered as a part of daily life. The world asks why Pakistanis are sympathetic to terrorists. That is a completely erroneous perception. Pakistan has faced so much destruction and loss because of terror, that Pakistanis simply have discounted the possibility of Pakistanis themselves being the architects of this annhilation and destabilisation of their country. Further, whatever form terrorism takes, the causes of terrorism, like most crimes, are poverty, destitution and manipulation. The War on Terror has left thousands of people homeless in the region, and Pakistani politicians have often hinted that it is these people who take on terrorism as a lifestyle, to effect vengeance against the people who have allowed this to happen; namely, the Pakistani government and the West. So, nothwithstanding how condemnable, evil and unacceptable terrorism is, the sad truth is that the military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been a cause for terror to foster in the region.
The elimination of terror remains the topmost priority nevertheless, and rightly so, as terrorism by its nature is committed against the innocent. One has to be insane to consider taking another’s life, as all life is equal and sacred. Pakistan, as a society, is dividing into religious Muslims and completely liberal Muslims. There seems to be no middle ground for the practice of religion. This can be fatal for the country. It should be the utmost duty of every Pakistani citizen to do all he can to ensure religion is not being preached in extreme terms in any school, madrassah, mosque or institution. There has to be some kind of social and religious revolution. Despite the apparent futility of doing so, Pakistanis must protest against all kinds of extremism, just like how they protest against the actions of Israel, India and the USA. Pakistanis have to focus on the fact that, only the abandonment of all forces that claim to stand for Islam within Pakistan, can ensure Pakistan’s survival.
Pakistanis will have to evaluate whether incidents such as the Lal Masjid fiasco should be encouraged in the country? For me, it is that incident which is the litmus test for finding out whose side a person is on- the liberals or the extremists. (Perhaps I am using the word “liberals” in the wrong sense there, as I consider myself to be a moderate Muslim and not exactly a “liberal” Muslim; I refrain from alcohol, pork, womanising, yet I don’t pray regularly and I don’t keep a beard or regularly attend religious gatherings etc.) I considered the actions of the Lal Masjid clerics as quite disgraceful and extreme, and although I did not support the brutal siege conducted by the Army (as I believe no one should be allowed to take anyone’s life, as both soldiers and students were killed), I severely condemned the actions of the radicals. Yet, there seems to be little similarity between what the Lal Masjid clerics wanted to achieve and their methods of operation, and what the Lahore and Mumbai gunmen did- which was just plain shooting and creating chaos.
This morning I saw a news bulletin, which somehow made me feel hopeful ironically. People from across the country- Quetta, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi were interviewed about their thoughts on this atrocity. They looked very helpless, hopeless and confused. I genuinely felt for them, as their lives are being wrecked by a nameless, faceless and cowardly enemy and they can only sit and watch their country being ravaged by these wild, heartless beasts. What I felt more sorrowful about though, was that people like those interviewees, the common people of Pakistan, are the people the whole world likes to point fingers at and declare as terrorists. Now what made me slightly hopeful, was that I saw an uncanny burning emotion on their faces. I saw people of different facial features, different accents, different body language, but they were all unanimous in declaring this as an unacceptable act. I saw that being at the brink of social destruction has brought the commonalities out in these people who belong to different religions, ethnicities and social backgrounds. For once, Pakistanis seemed united and seemed to consider national issues as more significant than petty internal political and ethnic strifes. What Pakistan needs more than everything else is a torch bearer, someone who can motivate and encourage the general population that their survival, life, pursuit of all things cherishable to Man, are not perished yet and that they are more than capable of turning around their (mis)fortunes. Pakistan needs hope, and all it takes is one man who does not care about political parties, dirty politics, corruption, ethnic supremacy, to start the bandwagon and motivate the people. Sometimes you take a fall, but you only have to look up to see how high you can really get.
That has to the silver lining in Pakistan’s dark cloud. Younis Khan is not an intellectual or philosopher, but today he said something that was very simple, and yet very true and meaningful. He said that Pakistan will be able to brave the storm if all Pakistanis unite and fight against these people who are hellbent on destabilising the country. Unity, faith and discipline was the motto of the Quaid, and it is time these words are put into effect. Something’s gotta give, because now Pakistan is in a desperate situation. It may be the death of international cricket in Pakistan for the forseeable future, but now Pakistanis have to make things right and become prominent in the world as ambassadors of global peace and harmony.
After reading Pawan &
khansahab’s comments on LS, this is an impromptu from me. I am motivated to write this thread. Although, I was neither surprised nor shocked on India’s canceling Pakistan’s tour next month. In fact I have been saying that people like Misbah are dreaming when two days ago Misbah said, India must tour Pakistan.
As a Pakistani origin Canadian I would have wanted Pakistan to take this initiative and cancel this tour after seeing and hearing all the news that is on TV and the Internet. Butt & Co. were gyrating their hips in front of India with a “kashkole” (begging bowl) and literally begging them to come or at least agree to play at a neutral ground. Any Pakistani with some self-esteem and self-respect wouldn’t have done what Butt & Co. had done. Even Ramiz Raja pointed out the samething what we here at the LS have been raving and ranting from the beginning that Pakistan should not loose its respect and dignity. This is what Ramiz Raja has said in his recent article:
“Reports confirm that while India is reticent, Pakistan is bending backwards to lure them into a contest, even at a neutral venue. I guess the prospect of a cash stimulus has got Pakistan thinking excitedly. Agreed, an Indian series is too lucrative to pass over, but is making overtures and running after India with a begging bowl the way to conduct cricket business? Doesn’t the PCB get the message that India is not yet emotionally ready to play Pakistan?”
Although Ramiz’s view on team building is something entirely unrelated to the current situation where he said, “Pakistan missed an opportunity. If the PCB had capitalised on its marquee team in the 80s and 90s, Pakistan would perhaps not be world cricket’s outcast today.” Pakistan is a victim of terrorism right now and whether the team had remained number one in the world, would not have changed the situation. But, India on the other hand could have played a better role by being fair. Instead their role is very hypocritical and double faced.
Shashank Manohar the President of BCCI said, “as the dust settles cricket will resume between the two countries.” This is absurd, the situation will worsen further if they don’t play cricket. The way the Indian officials persuaded English team to come back and assured them of security and the England team also accepted and came back shows their dual standards too.
Imran Khan who is currently in London said, ” This will not help build up trust (between the two countries) and it is a wrong decision by the Indians. When some English cricketers had security concerns going back to India they were told if they didn’t return it would be a victory for the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks. While deciding on the Pakistan tour they should have thought in similar fashion. The cancellation of the series is not good for cricket in the region.”
Shahid Afridi told Geo TV: “sports is the best way of bringing nations closer. Cricket should go on if they (India) want to normalize relations with Pakistan. And, Pakistan toured India in 2005 and 2007 despite a tense security situation. Pakistan never refused and we went there with open hearts because their government and the cricket board gave us the security assurances. When our government and the cricket board had given them security assurance this time, I think they should have believed us.”
Now, all eyes are focused on Sri Lanka who are already throwing tantrums, as we heard through the media that for going to South Africa and play a tri-nation ODI tournament, between them, SA and PAK they were offered $300,000 and they were demanding $1,000,000. It shows that when your chips are down and luck is not in your favour everyone seems to be hurting you from every nook and corner. The cancellation of this tour means a lot to Pakistan, its not just the $25-30 million financial loss of revenue but, Pakistani team is getting deprived of playing international cricket. And Sri Lanka is trying to take advantage of the situation.
The reason India has begged England to come and play the test matches wasn’t simply to prove that they can provide security to the players and more than anything they were worried about the next year IPL and the 2011 World Cup financial losses. Whether the Pakistani players play for IPL or not is not India’sconcern, because people like Glen McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Andy Symonds etc., have already confirmed their participation in the next IPL. Flintoff and Pieterson is also willing to play for the IPL. India will not be displaying their cards and the BCCI will be keeping a poker face and leaving everything for their government to decide. For them it is not important whether Pakistan will host the 2011 World Cup or not, because they would like to have the cake and it too.
It is not that Pakistan would not like to host the WC in 2011, but the big teams would not like to come to Pakistan and play and India will say, they are there to host the whole of the WC tournament “avec plasir” (with pleasure). I am very disappointed – not because India is not touring – but because of India’s hypocrisy and dual standards they have displayed in this situation. And this is not a victory for the terrorist, but it is a victory for the Indian Hindu Fundamentalists Neo-fascists who are out there vowing to take revenge from Pakistan if their player (or any Pakistani) if they come to India.
Mind you not a single political, religious, ethnic or any party in Pakistan has said anything against India or Indian cricket team, in fact they have always gone out of their way to extend hospitality and entertained them, protected them, accommodated them offered free gifts and free food at the restaurants, in other words, “Sir pay bithaya” and this is what we got in return?
Yes, like most of you I am hurt by this stupid decision. I would like to tell the Pakistan cricket team through our blog that this is not the end of the world and, I advise them to take it calmly and gracefully. Perhaps this is what is Allah’s will and, there must be something good that will come out of it. Perhaps this is a moral victory for Pakistan and from here they will rise above everything – Inshallah. Not only I wish, but I also pray for them very sincerely for their success in their future endeavours – Ameen.