Cricket is one of the most loved and watched sports around the globe, especially South-Asia. The game of cricket has been looked upon as the most joyous sport that brings harmony in the society. In the case of India, cricket is the most celebrated sport. Sachin, Dhoni and Kohli are the role models of every young Indian. However, for our neighbour Pakistan, cricket is more than a sport.
What Cricket is for Pakistan
For India’s western neighbour, Cricket is not just a sport or a recreational activity. Rather, it is a tool to push Islamist agenda. Pakistani cricketers enjoy a huge fan base in their country and the fan following paves the way for them to spread radical Islamist agenda.
It becomes easier to disseminate and propagate ideology when you enjoy a huge fan following. What you say is heard by the common masses, and is only appreciated when you fulfil the state’s agenda. The rampant subjugation of Hindus in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon.
There have been several incidents when Pakistani cricketers have been caught red handed pushing their Islamist agenda.
When Shoaib Akhtar resorted to Ghazwa-e-Hind
Shoaib Akhtar, who enjoys a good fan following on both sides of the borders, during a interview with Samaa TV, Rawalpindi express said, “It is written in our scriptures that Ghazwa e Hind will take place. The river in Attock will be coloured red twice with blood. Forces from Afghanistan will reach till Attock. After that forces will rise from Shamal Mashriq, different contingents will arrive from Uzbekistan, etc. This refers to Khorasan, a historical region which extended till Lahore. Then those forces will conquer Kashmir, and then will march onwards.”
"Ghazwa e Hind is mentioned in our sacred books. We will first capture Kashmir and then invade India from all sides for Ghazwa e Hind"
– Shoaib Akhtar (descendant of a Hindu Gujjar)
After all cricket & art have no boundaries. After Ghazwa e Hind, India will have no boundaries! pic.twitter.com/sRlYml6xow
— Pakistan Untold (@pakistan_untold) December 18, 2020
For the unversed, Ghazwa-e-Hind is the ideology that advocates holy war/jihad against India and it has been used by Pakistani for decades. The doctrine prophesizes a pitched battle between Hindus and Muslims before ‘qayamat’, resulting in a decisive victory of Muslims over Hindu and India.
Ahmed Shehzad attacks Tillakaratne Dilshan over religion
While what Akhtar has done may represent his ideology, he just made use of the fanbase he had gained through Cricket for propagating the Islamist agenda. There have been cricketers like Ahmed Shehzad who have pushed Islamists’ agenda on the cricket grounds.
In a one day international match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Pakistani cricketer Ahmed Shehzad was caught on camera telling Dilshan that, “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.” What Dilshan replied was not audible on the camera, but Shehzad replied saying, “Then be ready for the fire.”
Agha Akbar, one of the key persons of the Pakistani Cricket Board had said that the conversation which happened among the cricketers was nothing more than personal chat.
Waqar Younis ‘Namaz in front of Hindus’ remark
In 2021, after Pakistan’s won the T20 World Cup against India, the former Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis unveiled his jihadi mindset.
While on a TV show post-match, he expressed his happiness over opener Mohammad Rizwan having taken time out for offering Namaz. He said, ‘Usne Hinduon ke beech mein khade hoke Namaz padhi,’ which translates to ‘He stood in the middle of the ground and offered Namaz in front of Hindus.’ For Younis, this was the highlight of the match.
However, he was later castigated on social media, post which he was forced to apologise for his anti-Hindu remark. However, a forced apology is not an apology from the heart.
Noted cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle had expressed his disappointment and said that he hopes that people are able to see the dangerous side to this statement.
The list doesn’t end here. Former Pakistani captain Imran Khan has always looked upon match against India as jihad. Another Pakistani cricketer Inzaman-ul-Haq had said that “If Muslims show their Muslim-ism, not one human on Earth will remain non-Muslim.” What is that? A statement from a former captain and chief selector, or a warning?
Also Read: Indian cricket was once carried by its legends, today it is being destroyed by modern legends
India’s response to Pakistan’s ‘Cricket Jihad’
Cricket matches between India and Pakistan have been an on-off journey. However, after the dastardly Mumbai terror attacks, India has frozen its bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan and has not allowed players from the terrorist nation to compete in the IPL (Indian Premier League).
Asserting India’s stand, external affairs minister Dr Jaishankar had recently said that “Tournaments keep coming.” The statement comes at a time when the BCCI has announced that Indian players will not go to Pakistan or the Asia Cup 2023. Jaishankar reiterated that Pakistan is a nation that not only funds terrorism but also acts as a safe haven for terrorists.
With Pakistan being on high on its terrorism agenda and Pakistani cricketers furthering their Jihad on the field, there should be no question of playing any sport with such a nation.
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