Thursday, December 27, 2012

On sporting ties

Each time the Board that Controls Cricket Cash in India talks of resuming sports ties with Pakistan and someone (used to be Bal Thackeray) says it is a bad idea, a chorus of noise emanates on how it is important to not mix sports with politics. A similar yardstick is mouthed by the 'ignorants' when it comes to music, cinema or some other such peacenik engagement.

Let us travel back in time to when South Africa was banned, not in one sport, but across sports - not by one country, but by the entire world for Apartheid. The wiki link on the same is very instructive.  And while at it, a related link on sports diplomacy is an entertaining read in itself. (see below)

Not only was the country banned, but sportspersons from other countries who maintained sporting contacts with SA were also banned - sometimes for life, by sporting associations across countries.

Before we move ahead - terrorist attacks are not about politics - they are about something more. Terror attacks are motivated by people who in turn are motivated by hatred - in this case of a country and its population and religion. They strive to kill in order to achieve their so called objective. Therefore, those who talk about mixing sports and politics are quite wrong. A better word to use would be to mix sports and terrorism.

But I digress. Pakistan has had a role in fomenting terrorism in India for over the last 60 years. Most of the bigger terrorist attacks in India have had a footprint originating in Pakistan. The last one and perhaps the most dastardly one yet, the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai had live instructions from Pakistan. The attack resulted in the death of more than a 183 innocent people including brave policemen and army officers. And Pakistan has been dragging its feet on it for over 3 years now while we send dossiers. And chasing this in Pakistan courts will be about as fruitful as locating Martians on Venus.

And for all those who say that cricketing ties are a great idea - please take a look at Imran Khan. Once a cricketer, he recently declared that he could declare jihad to wrest Kashmir. Imran, ironically is a product of Pakistans more liberal times which seem as real as the Yeti today. And all those peaceful, sporting encounters did not make Imran share any good words for India. Of course you may argue that many other cricketers are silent - but that is precisely my point. Why are his contemporaries not asking this ex-sportsman to shut up? Playing cricket with a nation that sponsors terrorism is useless. That Pakistan is in no hurry to take a liberal turn any time soon is all too evident from the events in that country. Is there any merit in engaging with an extremist nation?

And do not forget they also harbour, among other worthies, a certain Dawood Ibrahim - who is on a designated global terrorist and on a Red Corner notice from Interpol.

And by the way we are also issuing visas to 5000 odd visitors from that country. Guess which neighbouring spy agency will make the most of this event - as they have done many times before. Atleast 2000 of them are overstaying in Nagpur itself from previous visits - spreading peace in this country no doubt.

In balance, not only should India not have sporting ties with Pakistan - India also should influence the world to renounce their sporting and other artistic ties with a country that has its fingers in most terror attacks across the globe.

And by the way, various 'peaceful and just' Muslim countries that are extremely equitable and democratic refuse to have sporting ties with Israel. That list of countries includes the country that we are planning to play with cricket with. How is that for mixing sports with politics? Ever heard our liberals condemn that?

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