As that line from Poltergeist goes “They are here.” Or more precisely, as the line from Poltergeist 2 goes “They are back.”
As predictable as a Veena Malik publicity stunt, as inevitable as a Shahid Afridi retirement, as irresistible as a Musharaff speech, and as destructive as Nargis Fakhri’s acting.
Pakistan is back here. And this time they are not coming in a boat.
For those of you who don’t know yet, India will, if we are to believe the good news, resume cricketing (we have been playing other sports with them though) ties with our friendly neighbor, where “hero Ajmal Kasabe”, according to a band from that country itself. [Video]
And IPL will once again be graced by the presence of the great Pakistanis. Not a bad idea, some may say, because after the amateurish spot-fixing misadventure of the last edition, professional guidance from the experts is needed if only to show the novices how it is to be done.
So let the Asha Aman commence with a “Arre so jao naheen to gadda zameen pe beecha do” (GoW 2 reference) passion.
The usual bromide one gets to hear in this context, from the Aman ki Asha or Asha ki Aman crowd is that sports should be delinked from politics. Well and good I wonder but if that is a general principle, why were South African sportsmen debarred from participating in all competitive sports for decades? Why were those who went on rebel tours treated as mercenaries and sell-outs rather than as heroes who took a stance against the politicization of sports? Why indeed?
Now South Africa, because of the racial nature of its laws and institutions (and no one condones racism), was the world’s problem. Hence the sanctions were more or less universal and morally never questioned.
Pakistan is primarily India’s. It is a country that has waged continuous overt and covert war against India and while realpolitik constrains us from actually taking Pakistan on in a field of battle (the human costs would be just too immense), as normally happens in history when one side wages battle without apology, there is really no reason why we should be “Tohfa Kubool Ho” extra gracious and try to save Pakistan’s floundering cricketing infrastructure which desperately needs an infusion of cash.
No real reason that is. I absolutely get why those in power want resumption of cricketing ties under the guise of “normalization of relations” and “people to people contact” (which I believe should be a ministry under the great Bhatt since no one has done more with regards to people to people contact than this champion of cross-border koochikooing). There is good money to be made on the Indian side (BCCI as we all know are never shy of making a bit of green) and no matter how many uber-patriotic messages people share on Facebook regarding not forgetting Mumbai and remembering Saurabh Kalia, ultimately Indians do come to watch Pakistanis play (and great cricketers they are, at least some of them) just as they go weak-kneed over Atif Aslam (not so great singer as he is).
I mean look at me. After all this hot air, I am pretty sure I will be tuning into IPL 6 as old “Hinduon ki zehniyaat” [Video] Sohail Tanveer bowls off the wrong foot and Afridi, he who cannot decide how old he is or the nature of Hindus, hits a few sixes.
So, honestly, who am I to say anything?