Cricket diplomacy over semi-final between two nations who have fought three wars.
Cricket diplomacy for peace over second semi-final between the teams of nations who have fought three wars, and emotional support of uneducated, intolerant, crazy public to their teams are two desires that are too strong to be at war with one another. People of both the nations are often at conflicts. The hatred between them is severe and to lower that, nothing has been accomplished.
Tensions between the countries grew after Taj Hotel was attacked by militants in 2009 and following elections in India put more pressure on politicians to take up the matter emotionally and undiplomatically, putting deadlock to peace dialogues, and accelerating blame game prior to investigations of any incident, whether its Samjhota express, Mumbai attacks or Lahore attacks on Sri Lankan team. Besides all above Indo-Pak Leadership is conscious of gravity of the tensions that followed the attacks and are aware of what peace could bring to them. Evidencing that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final between Pakistan and India at Mohali. This step has shown India’s interest in peace after the allegations of non-seriousness by Pakistan. But as no war or peace can be won without public support, this step seems to be failing. People of both sides do not seem tired of wars. They don’t get tired of calling this semi-final a war “between two religions…between two nations…and for Kashmir”. Cricketers have repeatedly said that they were to play a game and not a war, but pressure on the teams is not lessening.
Not just the public but media also seem one-sided. Pakistani Captain Shahid Afridi in his press conference on March 29th targeted media by calling them responsible for tensions between the two countries. While answering a question of his harsh statement to Sachin Tendulkar in which he predicted that Sachin would have to wait for a 100th century, he told the media that he was not to say that he would leave Sachin to make a century against him when he himself was an all-rounder and especially current captain of the team opposite to that of Sachin’s. He talked like he was tired of every breaking news made over them out of nothing, and the same is thought to be with the Indian team who are believed to have extra pressure of a play in home-ground.
People on both sides seem too severe over each other and the process is catalyzed by extreme religious groups showing great influence and control over minds of those uneducated. Despite of the fact that religion is far from sports, religious groups seem sports victory a “victory over infidel”. Recently a Muslim Mullah supporting Pakistan team on a channel asked the players to win for it’ll convert non-Muslims to Islam. I personally received so many India-Pakistan hate tweets on twitter by Indian tweeples, the day Pakistan made for semi-finals crushing West Indies, one of which doubted the possibility of Pakistan team’s presence at Mohali if India had lost their quarter-final against Australia. It is crystal clear that People of both the countries are not ready for peace and it would be foolish to think they are when both sides have remained unsuccessful in building a consensus over the issue of Kashmir that has emotional links to the people of both sides.
This semi-final on March 30 between Pakistan and India has attracted many personalities like the richest man of Asia Mr. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, Indian Actor Amir Khan, Member of Pakistan Muslim League Q Mr. Mushahid Hussain Syed and Family, Family of Akmal brothers, 5000 visitors from Pakistan, and those who are ready to sell out their kidneys to buy tickets of Mohali stadium the prices of which have reached the peak of Rs 100,000, that are apparently sold. Many of these visitors are interested in the opponent team’s defeat instead of their team’s victory. Former cricketers are also extending the hate list by making emotional analysis claiming their teams favorite in the match.
Predicting peace with such a war is too naïve but leadership of both the countries should not avoid their responsibility of bringing peace to people of sub-continent even when they are rejecting it, and when it seems to be failing.