India-Pakistan – cricket, spooks and peace

March 27, 2011

cricket  refugee“Cricket diplomacy” has always been one of the great staples of the relationship between India and Pakistan. The two countries have tried and failed before to use their shared enthusiasm for cricket to build bridges, right back to the days of Pakistan President Zia ul-Haq, if not earlier.

So when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced last week that he was inviting Prime Minister Yusuf  Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to watch the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup in Mohali, India, the temptation was to dismiss it as an old idea.

Yes, it would be the first visit by a leader of either country to the other since the November 2008 attack on Mumbai.  Yes, the invitation came at a time when relations between the two countries were already thawing. And yes, the Middle East is changing so fast that you would expect –  in the way that warring siblings do — that India and Pakistan would bury their differences at a time when the outside world has become so unpredictable.

But the instinct for cynicism is unerring. India and Pakistan have tried and failed to make peace for so long that it is easy, lazily easy, to predict that this latest initiative will also come to nothing. Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, himself a participant in cricket diplomacy in 2005, wrote it off in 2000:

`”We have been trying all kinds of bus diplomacy and cricket diplomacy and everything. Why has all of it failed? It has failed because the core issue was not being addressed … because there is only one dispute, the Kashmir dispute … others are just aberrations, minor differences of opinion which can be resolved,” he told The Hindu in an interview in 2000.

Yet even after Mumbai, even after years of fighting over Kashmir, even after all the failed diplomatic initiatives of the past, I still found myself regularly  checking on Google and Twitter to see whether Pakistan had accepted the invitation to the cricket match. When Zardari’s spokeswoman Farahnaz Ispahani announced on her Twitter feed that Gilani would be going to Mohali, the news was retweeted with the speed once reserved by traditional media for attendance at U.S.-Soviet summits.

Over the years, each time something like this has happened, enthusiasm about a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations has been swiftly disabused.

Yet cynicism, lazy or otherwise, notwithstanding, there are a few reasons why we should allow for the possibility that this time might be different.

The first is Pakistan’s reassessment of its relationship with the United States.  For years Pakistan has looked to America to bolster its defences against India.  Yet America will never give Pakistan what it wants in terms of absolute loyalty. By definition, if you are in a “strategic relationship”, you expect your ally to take your side against your enemy. The United States, trying to straddle its alliance with Pakistan with its strategic and economic interests in India, can, and never will, do that.

And Pakistan, increasingly unwilling to put up with what it sees as bullying by the United States in return for financial aid, is arguably growing out of an unhealthy dependency.  Nowadays, you hear arguments that Pakistan is a big country of some 170 million people which no longer wishes to be a supplicant to the United States, and which, as described by Pakistani journalist Mosharraf Zaidi, is discovering a new kind of nationalism. For Pakistan, achieving that independence from the United States is easier done if it is not also at loggerheads with India.

The second reason to think that this time might be different comes from an increasing understanding of the need to improve relations between the intelligence agencies of the two countries.  Both the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) are ultimately inheritors of a system set up by the British to maintain colonial rule and as such remain secretive and somewhat apart from the countries they serve.

Their ways of challenging each other, whether in Kashmir or Afghanistan, are so rarely debated in the media that we have little idea about what is going on in the behind-the-scenes battles between the ISI and R&AW.

In an interview earlier this year, Musharraf, speaking from his own experience of running Pakistan, was clear that an improvement in relations between the ISI and R&AW was needed.

“ISI and R&AW have always been confrontational, since 1948, since our inception,” he said. “This tit-for-tat has been going on over the last 60 years; both are to blame or not to blame; both should share responsibility for all that is happening.” Adding that it should not just be Pakistan that is blamed, he said,  “It’s mutual. I think India and Pakistan need to sit down and stop this confrontation.”

B. Raman, formerly at R&AW, has made a not too dissimilar argument. Calling for the revival of past contacts between the ISI and R&AW, he wrote that, ”it has always been my view that such liaison contacts on a sustained basis may not lead to any substantive results, but will enable the officers of the two organisations to assess each other in flesh and blood instead of relying on source and media reports.”

The Times of India has meanwhile reported that India is keen to open a dialogue with the Pakistan Army and the ISI to ”open up new possibilities of deepening Indo-Pak engagement”. That would be a major departure for India, which has been very uncomfortable in the past about the idea of talking to the Pakistan Army during periods of democratic government. In a country where the military has always been subvervient to the civilian government, India has traditionally had strong reservations about acknowledging the power of the Pakistan Army in setting foreign and security policy. The Times of India report, if confirmed, and reciprocated, would represent a significant change in the ground rules of India-Pakistan dialogue.

All in all, given the many disappointments of the India-Pakistan peace process over the decades, I would assume that much work has already been done behind-the-scenes to prepare for the ”Mohali thaw”. So I’m not going to write it off as mere cricket diplomacy. It may be bigger than it looks.

 


Comments

Mortal
Watch the video. Indian media using some Maulana to rile up Mushy. This is exactly my point.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Of course. Anyone who does not subscribe to the Pakistani agenda must be an “Indian stooge”. I should’ve known better!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

BTW, the Maulana questioning Musharraf in the video, is not some guy off the street, he’s the President of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

So I’m supposed to take his remarks as Fatwa!

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

SP, the tone of my replies should not read as mean-spirited
1. It is true that Pakistan had a prima facie case for kashmir as there existed opposite paradoxes in junagadh and hyderabad. But pakistan did blow it up and at that moment atleast, India had an upper hand. No point in discussing the same legal pre-partition issue, when people of kashmir itself are not interested to join pakistan,
1.1 Junagadh acceded to Pakistan… India invaded
1.2 Hyderabad wanted independence… India invaded
1.3 Portugal wanted Goa… Indian invaded
1.4. Sikkim royalty wanted independence…. India invaded
1.5 Why is only Pakistan to blame for claiming the K in its name in the same manner?
1.6 If Pakistan is so evil, look at how we handled Gwadar with Oman (colonial power) as opposed to India’s handling of Goa with Portugal. Look at how we handled territory with China (China actually gave in to all our claims) as opposed to India’s forward policy. Look at how we handled the Durand line against a weaker and hostile neighbor. We could’ve made BaluchIstan happier by taking on BaluchEstan.

Just a take a moment to think about these things outside of the Indo/Pak prism. Condemn us for our wrongs, Don’t condemn us for everything.

2.It is true that Human right abuses happened and no indian can deny that and we do sympathise that. we only deny the intensity pakistan has conjured it up.

2.1 and AI, HRW, OIC, UN, Indian Humanists. Kashmir is becoming the Indian East Pakistan and believe me you don’t want that on your national conscience.

The human rights abuses happen not just in kashmir but even other places in India too and in other parts of the world too and in this case pakistan hands have more blood than Indians (see genocide in bangladesh by pakistan). Not that I am supporting the Human Right Abuses but is it not to be seen in the context of insurgency? This is the tactic Pakistanis implemented to its perfection in Afghanistan and with its success, in India. As India had better democratic structures and better equipped military, they were not successful.
2.2 Kashmir predates 1971, India’s Junagadh example predates Kashmir. 1971 did not make Kashmir India’s integral property. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are now friends. We resolved our issues in 1974. I believe we owe them an apology and reparations. Someone owes Biharis an apology and reparations. The two countries have decided to move on, you should too.

3. In Geostrategic terms, Jammu and Kashmir (Indian administered) is a classic potpourri of different cultural identities. The Kashmir valley has about half the population living in just 7% of the area(Kashmir Valley, see J&K Map). And jammu people with 20 Percent of people living in 30 % of the area and buddhist ladhakis of 3 to 4% living in some 60% (ladakh and kargil) area. So this is a rare case of majority living in miniority area and minority living in majority geographical area of J&K. which means if a referendum is to be conducted, it has to be region wise and not as whole J&K. The region wise plebicite will perhaps shock pakistanis as that will result in majority of J&K still with India and a small valley with no resouces becoming independent of joining pakistan.

3.1 I agree with most of your points here.

4.The Indian army placed in J & K is stationed because the Pakistan made it mandatory for India to place troops which were the result of the belligerence of pakistan for three times. The nation whose birth has come from voilence and whose belief in solving political problems in its own country (East pakistan or baluchistan) through force cannot be believed unless there is a fundemental shift in how pakistan conducts its statecraft and moves its locus centre of power to democracy and away from military.

4.1 This point deserves a separate post. I am not dodging…

5. If the pakistan’s tears for kashmir is to be considered as taking high moral standing, one wonders why they do not protest against similar and even more brutal state voilence against uighur province in china etc and we believe it smacks of intellectual honesty.

5.1 You mean to say intellectual dishonesty. Who would you defend first your family or friend? your friend or neighbor? Your neighbor or countrymen? Your countrymen or foreigner? a human or an alien species? India is the size of Western & Central Europe. To the Tamils, Kashmir might as well be in another galaxy. For Pakistanis, kashmiris are our relatives, our neighbors and friends. Islamabad is a short drive from Muzafarabad. You may have noticed that Pakistanis are at ease with Bangladesh but not Kashmir. This should demonstrate consistency not hypocrisy.

6. Even if we consider the pakistan’s moral support of kashmir is correct, Indians are left wondereing why its intelligence agencies support insurgencies in North-East of India which have no ideological and geostrategic basis or advantage for pakistan. How can we convince the hawks who say the pakistan’s raison d’être is simply undoing India.

6.1 India supported Mukthi Bahini before a single shot was fired by west pakistan.
6.2 India supported BLA
6.3 Rules should not apply to one party only
6.4 India has a 10:1 advantage over Pakistan. I think Indians forget that. The purpose is to keep that advantage somewhat distributed. It DOES NOT MEAN that we want to break up India. If Kashmir is resolved… these boys would get an early retirement in a nice cushy home from Defence Housing Authority.

You are a prolific writer. Did you write this yourself? I will get to 7+ later. You will win this discussion just on the basis of attrition!

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

How can you discredit Kashmir’s Pakistan cricket fans in one post and present one maulana as the epitome of the scientific method in the next?

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Shoaibo: “Junagadh acceded to Pakistan… India invaded”

Here is a link that talks about Junagadh’s accession to India:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_inte gration_of_Junagadh

What you have said is only partly true. India did not invade Junagadh. It surrounded the place with its troops. A plebiscite was indeed held and people voted 99% for accession to India.

In the case of Kashmir, Pakistan definitely had favorable conditions – it was a contiguous state with a majority Muslim population. No one knows why Jinnah decided to invade the place with Pashtun tribesmen. If the Pashtun tribals did not indulge in their usual pillage and rape, things would have been all right. Pakistan could simply have taken the matter to UN asking for a plebiscite. Nehru would have honored that. The problem lies with the macho attitude of Pakistani thinkers who rely on historic belief of taking everything by force. Using force to bring everyone to negotiation table worked in the past. Kings would lay a siege and wait it out until supplies ran out for the surrounded people. But the world has moved on. Pakistan made a mistake of emulating India which was much bigger and had more depth to take shocks. It would have been a simple exercise to conduct the plebiscite and the verdict would have been known. Supposing the Kashmiris of that time decided to vote against Pakistan’s accession, would they have accepted it? Probably not. This is what Pakistan feared then. That is why they refused to honor the UN resolution requirement of having to vacate all of Kashmir before a plebiscite. They knew that Kashmiris had developed strong fear and aversion to joining Pakistan after the tribal plunder.

Things have changed a lot. We simply cannot go back to the old days.

New settlement has to be reached. An independence option for Kashmir has to be included in the UN resolution. Pakistan fought and removed this option in the past. It is time to agree on that. All of Kashmir has to be vacated by both Indian and Pakistani troops and a UN contingent has to come in and maintain law and order. Kashmiri military has to be trained by a neutral nation like Turkey. For five years this status has to be maintained. Then a plebiscite should be held. And if people vote for independence, Kashmir will be ready to handle it. India, China and Pakistan must sign an agreement at the UN that if either country invades Kashmir, they get to face economic sanctions and international isolation. This is the only future option that is left.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP,

Let’s play this out to humor ourselves.

Pakistan and India could also sign a no-war pact and confirm each other’s territorial integrity. Realpolitik dictates that an Indo-Pak entente would make Pakistan less desirable for Beijing. If you think about it, China could’ve easily helped Pakistan wrest Kashmir from India in the 60s “window of opportunity”. It stands to reason that China prefers to keep India busy with Pakistan. With a quiet western flank India could can be confident of her northern perimeter. Nobody expects war but Chindia will have some interesting global “contaigments” this century. India would still have to tread carefully around her smaller neighbors. With a quiet eastern flank , Pakistan could heal itself from its perceived Nakba and realize her own full potential.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Mortal1,

Matrixx is hardcore. I have not known him to change or even soften his stance in response to someone’s argument. The only evidence he accepts is one that confirms his existing views. I have to reluctantly conclude that discussing anything with him is a waste of time. Sorry, Matrixx.

Shoaibo on the other hand, has the right combination of reasonable accommodation when faced with plausible arguments, and robust, hard-to-refute arguments again backed up by plausible facts. I find it a pleasure to discuss with him, because I’m learning a lot more from this discussion than from most previous interactions with Pakistanis where I felt the other party was just shouting with their ears shut.

I’ll respond to Shoaibo’s points separately.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

If the Pashtun tribals did not indulge in their usual pillage and rape, things would have been all right.

…. This is an ugly statement. No group, people or race is preordained to rape and pillage. I expect this from a pimple-ridden teenager on Pak/Indo defence forums not a well-read person such as yourself.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Shaoibo said:

> Pakistan and India could also sign a no-war pact and confirm each other’s territorial integrity.

There will be clauses and subclauses to be wrestled with in this statement, but the underlying principle is definitely wise.

The Pakistani position has always been – Kashmir resolution first, normalisation of relations afterwards.

I think it should be the other way around, and perhaps you mean the same thing (I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, though).

If both sides can rule out hostilities in pursuit of their goals (and from the Indian side, I would definitely look for an unequivocal repudiation of support for terrorism from the PA, not just the civilian leadership), I can see a rather rapid normalisation of relations, and Kashmir can be settled in a more relaxed atmosphere in a few years. I know Pakistanis fear that India will use this interim period to consolidate its own position and deny Kashmir to Pakistan, but that argument assumes that the Kashmiris want to go to Pakistan in the first place. From whatever I read, the fundamental desire of the Kashmiris is to be a united territory instead of being split between two hostile powers, and to have good economic opportunities for themselves. That will in fact be better served in a peaceful atmosphere. Neither India nor Pakistan may get exactly what they want in terms of a Kashmir settlement, but in a cordial atmosphere, these things will not mean as much as they do in an atmosphere of hostility.

I also like your suggestion of DHA accommodation for retiring officers of the PA to keep them happy. I was thinking of shares in companies, but the idea is similar. Buy them off. It may seem like rewarding bad behaviour, but the prize for the people of both countries is far greater.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

I don’t know if anyone has seen Afridi’s press conference back home. Forget Cricket, This man is becoming an inspirational national leader…. That’s right Boom Boom Shahid Afridi.

One should never underestimate the human potential

Some statements poorly translated:

“Don’t tell me about hating Indians, Everyone of you has Indian movies at home”
“I walk out of the airport whether we win or lose, people have the right to scold me”
“Mohturma Reporter” (looks away in modesty)
“Imran Sahib has the right to say he wants, but we were on the field”
“Rehman Malik Sahib should focus on his timing”
“I apologize to the country for not bringing home the cup at a time when we needed it most”
“India is just a game, you win and lose. dont worry we will beat greater teams inch’allah”
“It is time to let the young get a chance so that they can showcase their talent before it is too late”
“good time and bad times come to all, aap pay bhee aye gah”

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Shoaibo: “This is an ugly statement. No group, people or race is preordained to rape and pillage. I expect this from a pimple-ridden teenager on Pak/Indo defence forums not a well-read person such as yourself.”

This is not an ugly statement. It really happened. You can look at any book on Kashmir conflict and it will mention it. There is a famous case of nuns being raped in a church. If they had not engaged in their acts and continued with their invasion, they could have captured key areas in Kashmir for Pakistan. Their distraction gave time for the king of Kashmir to run to India and sign the instrument of accession. India sent its para troopers once it was officially signed that Kashmir is its territory.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“How can you discredit Kashmir’s Pakistan cricket fans in one post and present one maulana as the epitome of the scientific method in the next?”

Why exaggerate? I never presented the maulana as “the epitome of the scientific method”.

“Pakistan and India could also sign a no-war pact and confirm each other’s territorial integrity.”

That’s a good idea, provided it includes proxy wars in addition to conventional ones’. Extra cirricular activities of “non state actors” must also be done away with.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh Prasad:
“Matrixx is hardcore. I have not known him to change or even soften his stance in response to someone’s argument. The only evidence he accepts is one that confirms his existing views. I have to reluctantly conclude that discussing anything with him is a waste of time. Sorry, Matrixx.”
Don’t be sorry, call me hardcore if you wish, but I consider myself a realist. My views are formed after long study and experience. I’m willing change my views, if solid argument is presented.

Here is one proposal I presented and shared on PTH site rather popular with Indians.

http://pakteahouse.net/2011/03/28/pakist an%E2%80%99s-geopolitical-dilema-china-o r-us-viewpoint-from-pakistan-%E2%80%93-a nalysis/#comments

“It is a good review of American project for South-central Asia and it has been works since early ninties after the demise of Soviet Union. It was the time for “New world order”, “New American century” and “Full spectrum dominance”. There were other grand concepts as to how world should be shaped under American leadership and guidance. There was the European Union and recasting NATO as global security organization. The alliance for democracy and color revolutions had their day in the sun. Then there was 911 and the application of shock and awe. Here we are twenty years later, properly awed; perhaps ready to take stock world we live in.
We live in a world where international law is in shambles, the concept of state as agreed in treaty of Westphalia is no more, United Nations is laughing stock of the world, human rights have more acceptance so is the case with torture. Technology and communication are the bright spots helping the masses. Coming back to American project, it is quite simple in fact. It is to have corporate state structure like it was built in Japan and very successfully. It is being done in China, as we speak. If it is repeated in other countries, they can also share the prosperity with their people. This is what American leadership provides and also assures full spectrum dominance. What is your problem? Japanese mushroom clouds, any one!
Countries are states no more, they are markets and resources. If you have good products, consumers will break you door to get it. The resources are labor and commodities. It is natural commodities that are in greater demand. Just look at wages against prices of natural commodities. So, nobody wants to take over highly populated countries, just only those with natural resources.
In South Asia, India has been blocked by Pakistan and then America has blocked Pakistan from free access to energy resources, and that flow is allowed to West only. Both countries need significant amount of energy for their economic growth. There was the solution of Nuclear energy but after Fukushima it is doubtful proposition for densely populated countries.
Despite all the issues between India and Pakistan, here is an issue where they should tell NATO to unblock the flows of energy to the area. Does India have the guts. This is my proposal to both sides and even half brains could understand.”

Then I also put forward a proposal to make Lahore and Amritsar as cities open to trade and people.

There was not one repose from any Indian. In fact it shut down all discussion.

See these proposals have nothing to do with Kashmir. Make a counter argument not based on sentiments. Be as hard nosed as you want and if you are right I will accept it. Go for it.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

If the Pashtun tribals did not indulge in their usual pillage and rape, things would have been all right.
…. This is an ugly statement. No group, people or race is preordained to rape and pillage. I expect this from a pimple-ridden teenager on Pak/Indo defence forums not a well-read person such as yourself.
posted by shoaibo
—–

Only the lies, bigotry and hatred taught in Pakistan studies must be “facts” :-)

Tribals indulged in rape and pillage is a well documented historical fact. There is actually video footage of St Josephs convent in Baramullah being pillaged by western media, rape of nuns is also true.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Meant to say video footage by western media

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Cricket has opened the doors for renewed goodwill between India & Pakistan. It can be clearly seen in the people to people interaction. I hope that the bone-headed leaders of the 2 countries can capatalize on this opportunity.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 
 

Shoaib: “You are a prolific writer. Did you write this yourself? I will get to 7+ later. You will win this discussion just on the basis of attrition!”

Winning a discussion on the basis of just attrition and other’s fatigue is more disgrace to me (and other indians) than anything else.
Oh, the long post was due to a reason that everytime a new pakistani citizen comes to the forum people like netizen,kp,ganesh,mortal et al has to go through each and every point that I’ve mentioned in a detailed manner. Since I’ve been on the forum as a passive participant for about a year. I’ve just consolidated them for the benifit of reducing the stroll.
No I have not thought about you as a mean spirited guy and since we are craving for a more rational and just spirited paksiani individual for long, we are not going to leave you either in a hurry :-)

shoaib:”Junagadh acceded to Pakistan… India invaded
“.
India did (although symatics differ) but we have never pillaged and raped junagadh the way kashmir was plundered. It is a fact and I believe you should go through more on this, on neutral sources to know the truth.

There is no shame in accepting that because it was not the professional pakistani army which did it; but the pathan tribes which were sent as infiltrators. But devoid of modern military ethics and objectives, they overrode kashmir like barbarians and had it not for them, maharajah hari singh would not have escaped to sign a treay with india.
Shoaib :” If Pakistan is so evil, look at how we handled Gwadar with Oman “. – Good, we wish you deal with kashmir in the same manner. Pakistan should ask themselves why they chose different path regarding India on kashmir (have they thought it to be feasible i donno?).
shaoib: “and AI, HRW, OIC, UN, Indian Humanists. Kashmir is becoming the Indian East Pakistan and believe me you don’t want that on your national conscience”
Morethen AI,OIC,HRW etc, it is Indian Human Rights commission that is important to us and IHRCommission’s acknowledgement that abuses happened is enough for us to hang our heads in shame and no need of international agencies. Also the fundemental reason that you know about these abuses is because we allowed the free media to exist and dont forget that unlike baluchistan or tibet and so no much differences here either.
shoaib:”Kashmir predates 1971, India’s Junagadh example predates Kashmir”.
Since you are more honest and curious about truth, the kind of Human Right abuses that is bestowed on us did not really begin prior to the Insurgency in 1989, many pakistanis I have seen believe the Human Right abuses have taken place since the kashmir acceded to India which is perhaps the biggest lie pakistani state got away with people.

Shoaib:”India supported Mukthi Bahini before a single shot was fired by west pakistan. 2 India supported BLA”
Pakistan’s support for North East Insurgencies predates 1971 and I can prove them. If you have a liberty to buy a book read “Myths and Facts Bangladesh Liberation War:” by western authors. India was greatly hopeful and combined pakistan served it purpose bcoz, East pakistan with moderate muslim polity and huge hindu minority there would have put a check on the high antagonism that existed in west pakistan against India. when Pakistan used force (that is what I put in my very first point about the means to solve political problems) to control East pakistan and its more than moderate muslim polity and Indian friendly populace, who could have brokered a peaceful deal better with India, Indians believed there is little point in keeping pakistan united. when West pakistan state overrided Pakistan’s foreign policy against the majority peoples wishes there was really little point in a status quo. Also, even if india would not have supported, left radicals who were gaining strength would have eventually led to the birth of bangladesh and could’ve threatened india and we’ve better thought a moderate democratic polity serves better. Bangladesh with better UNDP goals (see dawn opinion success and failure) proved the Indians right, in this matter. The author akbar zaidi has a interesting perspective “http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/01/success- and-failure.html”
To borrow his word “In many ironic ways, it is Bangladesh which has become Jinnah`s Pakistan — democratic, developmental, liberal, secular — while Pakistan has become his worst nightmare — intolerant, authoritarian, illiberal and fundamentalist”. I will keep my posts shorter from now on, my previous post is a one-off matter and I will take that point in good spirit.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

Afridi has let me down. I like him a lot. He fell for the trap by the interviewer. But his speaking the truth about how he feels about Indian team tells how he feels. Sad what he said in response to how was your treatment and relationship with Indian team.

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXh8Wk9Lk qU

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

shoaib :” Who would you defend first your family or friend? your friend or neighbor? Your neighbor or countrymen? Your countrymen or foreigner? a human or an alien species? India is the size of Western & Central Europe. To the Tamils, Kashmir might as well be in another galaxy. For Pakistanis, kashmiris are our relatives, our neighbors and friends. Islamabad is a short drive from Muzafarabad. You may have noticed that Pakistanis are at ease with Bangladesh but not Kashmir. This should demonstrate consistency not hypocrisy”.

Point well taken and I agree on this. I would be forthcoming on this and will not downplay the emotions the pakistanis have on kashmir. We have the habit of using the word pakistanis interchangeably with pakistani state (both are different and more so in the context of limited liberal environment there) and I will be more careful to make it explicit from now on.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

“Sad what he said in response to how was your treatment and relationship with Indian team.” Posted by rehmat

As Shoaibo says, maybe Mr. Afridi is looking for a career in politics, after all ;)

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Here’s some more. After garnering some goodwill from Indians with his gracious act in India, Afridi’s giving it all back. An excerpt:

Asked by a chat show host on Pakistan’s Samaa TV station about what it was like playing in India and the feeling he got from the Indian public, Mr. Afridi had this to say:

“If I speak truthfully, they just can’t have the kind of heart a Muslim has or a Pakistani has. I think they don’t have the sort of big hearts, pure hearts, Allah has given us.”

The comments elicited applause from a studio audience.

http://on.wsj.com/hg8RK6

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

If I speak truthfully, they just can’t have the kind of heart a Muslim has or a Pakistani has. I think they don’t have the sort of big hearts, pure hearts, Allah has given us.”

The comments elicited applause from a studio audience.

http://on.wsj.com/hg8RK6

Posted by Mortal1

==
Mortal 1,
I saw that 2 days ago, thought of posting it here. Didn’t do it because I didn’t want to be the person repeatedly pointing out reality as it is.

Thanks for sharing the mantle.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Rehmat,

The Pushtun’s generosity for friends is like no other and his ferocity in battle is like no other. I have never known a Sikh personally but I have heard the same generalizations for them. Perhaps this is why Harbhajan and Afridi get along so well. Could there be a possible cultural misunderstanding? Our standards for hospitality are much higher than Indians, could an unintended slight from the Indian team offended the Khan? Is it possible that a personable fellow like Afridi encountered an Indian cricket team that has more Rehmats than Prasads? Perhaps, to the Pathan this equates to small hearts versus big, pure hearts. Could he be referring to the manner Pakistani players were snubbed in IPL? He should not have brought religion into the mix. You are a perfect illustration of that.

Have you seen some of the coverage of the Indian media? Educated Indians have criticized their media’s sensationalism. What conclusions would a simple Afridi draw from coverage like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhCLtGFYa zY

From 1 hour press footage, you chose to share only this recent clip? What about the one a few days back where he berated a reported on hatred of India. Do you indict everyone this quickly or just Pakistanis? No comment on Gambhir?

He said the same thing about the media to Indians in India. A man that speaks the truth (as he sees it) is the opposite of politician.

Jai Hind.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Our standards for hospitality are much higher than Indians,
Posted by shoaibo
==

Saaf Dil Badaa Dil

repeat :-)

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Most Indians would agree with Afridi that a segment of Indian media is excessively negative about Pakistan & sensationalizes news, in general. But to say that Indians lack big & pure hearts which muslims & Pakistanis do, is a mean spirited & dumb thing to say. He should’ve known better.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

There may be some truth to the hospitality thing. I personally know two or three Indian friends and relatives who have been to Pakistan at different points in time over the years, and all of them were wowed by the hospitality and warmth they received. A few years ago, a group of Indian journalists visited Pakistan and one of them (a famous person, but I don’t recall his name now) said they got such generous treatment, with many shopkeepers refusing to accept payment when they learnt the visitors were from India. This journalist was ashamed to think what would happen if a group of Pakistanis were to visit Delhi, because he was sure they would be ripped off.

Perhaps there really is something to this. I have never been to Pakistan, so I cannot say anything about their hospitality, but I have been to Delhi, and I would agree with the journalist :-( . People in Indian cities (auto and taxi drivers, shopkeepers, etc.), are quick to rip you off if they know you’re not a local, even if you’re another Indian. I don’t think they would show any special consideration if they knew the person was Pakistani. It may in fact have the opposite effect.

I don’t mean to be disloyal, but this is a home truth we may have to confront.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Shoaibo

“He should not have brought religion into the mix. You are a perfect illustration of that.”
***Explain please. Did I talk religion here? NO. Also, I have the liberty to say without affecting masses, he in his position does not.

Your long-winded spin will do nothing to justify what Afridi said will not do anything. It was a case of being bitter after the loss to India. After all he is a Pushtoon who is not used to defeat. IPL etc issue is not part of the question asked to him.

He undid cricket diplomacy. By all counts India-Pak match was played in good spirit and players had good body language on the field and off the field they always have. Mumbai crowd (which I disliked for their behavior according to reports) was much more aggressive than Mohali’s.

“Is it possible that a personable fellow like Afridi encountered an Indian cricket team that has more Rehmats than Prasads?”
*** Indian team has “stingy and deceptive” Zaheer and “wicked” Yusuf Pathan whom I want to stay that way. :-)
With hotel under Indian security control, do you think he was allowed to mingle with anyone. Indians did not want Pakistan team hit by rocket launcher like Sri Lankans got in Pakistan.

Let us assume he encountered few “Rehmats” who shoved him across the wall, he must be intelligent to assume that India has more “Prasads” than be so sure about “heart size”. He is captain of Pakistan team not a “Shoaibo” that he uses his position to express his prejudices.

My take is that he was “jetlagged” (lol) and was caught on camera as he entered his house by so-called “positive media” of Pakistan. In the interview, Afridi was visibly disturbed or sleepless even before this sad comment. Perhaps it was the loss to India plus the prejudices he carries (but needs to drop as a Captain) that made him say that. he is simple enough that he could not hide what he said. I am not going to change my view about him; he is a pleasing personality and likable guy. After all it is just one sad comment.

“Have you seen some of the coverage of the Indian media? Educated Indians have criticized their media’s sensationalism.”

***I agree with you on media so I did not say that he said anything wrong about the media. I have problem with only one comment, which you seem to justify: “If I speak truthfully, they just can’t have the kind of heart a Muslim has or a Pakistani has. I think they don’t have the sort of big hearts, pure hearts, Allah has given us.”

“From 1 hour press footage, you chose to share only this recent clip?”
***I saw this clip on Dawn and have no idea about the rest. I was not being selective. Will see and comment on that.

“He said the same thing about the media to Indians in India. A man that speaks the truth (as he sees it) is the opposite of politician.”
***He can give hell to media, I do not care and will support him. Targeting a community based on religion/country (in his position) is what I have problem with.

Peace!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh

“I don’t mean to be disloyal, but this is a home truth we may have to confront”
***May I ask you what does what you said all along in the post has anything to do with the specific comment made. NOTHING.
please check the question asked and answer given. Qn was about Indian team. PUHLEEZE!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Shoaibo

“The Pushtun’s generosity for friends is like no other and his ferocity in battle is like no other. I have never known a Sikh personally but I have heard the same generalizations for them. Perhaps this is why Harbhajan and Afridi get along so well.”

***You can find Sikhs in Peshawar Pakthoonkhwa, paying Jizya by “hospitable and generous” Pushtoons/Talibans.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

Rehmat,

I only commented on the hospitality angle, which came up in the course of the discussion above (the comment by Shoaibo that netizen responded to). I don’t follow cricket very much, and didn’t care to watch what Afridi said.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh

“I only commented on the hospitality angle, which came up in the course of the discussion above (the comment by Shoaibo that netizen responded to).”

***Perhaps you should watch what Afridi said than what Neitzen said. Shoaibo responded to my post about what Afridi said. Cricket is not an issue here. Look at the original post.

I do not care about irrelevant hospitality angle in general which has no connection to the original reason it started.

Let us be “intellectually honest” but I understand if you are trying to make people happy here.

Let us talk about hospitality. Mohali is in Punjab with Sikh majority. Shoaibo also knows that Sikhs like Pushtoons are hospitable. So what’s the issue? Where does Delhi come here. May be I am dumb.

Take care

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh,
I have an interesting thought for you. Have you ever wondered why we show more than needed hospitality to our relatives who come from More developed countries say Australia or United states. We constantly try to prove them that we have all the facilities that the americans enjoy and we have best culture around and we long for being flattered. When the same relatives speak about poverty or dirt on the streets, we try our best to avoid that or simply blame politicians and get away with.

This is true of families too, where my uncle (father’s brother) who is economically less fortunate than we are, would always play up this more than needed generosity and kindness when we visit them. He tries to make a point that he has everything that we enjoy . My father is angered with this behaviour as he thinks his brother is wasting money. But my father doesn’t seem to obstruct us when we do the same with our rich foreign relatives!

Pakistan with less than capable clout depends heavily on that generosity showoff ( sorry if was mean). It is not with all neighbours (like afghanistan).

In one of the articles of dawn, I remember Zia-Ul-Haq says to his pakistani bureaucrats to treat neighbours with flattery and utmost generosity you can show as that is the only leverage we could possibly have with americans.

The American bureaucrats who visit pakistan are ofcourse extremely joyful that they would never see that warmthness with procedural and protocol obsessed Indians. But the fact should not be lost on you in this respect. Between countries it does not matter what you show but what you does.

But can you see the split personality of an average pakistani and this can be best depicted by one person. Shahid Afridi! It is the lack of conviction of your thoughts that has given this phenomenon of flattering more than what is needed (Afridi flattering indians more than one expects) and a slight critism from media and establishment makes him spit poision. This is the nature of person with inferiority complex (like we ourselves display with our rich NRI’s ) with lack of self-belief.

It may also look more generous because we rarely meet them just like we rarely meet our NRI relatives and not knowing whether it could be our last (or the belief that the reunion is long away) we show more than it is needed.
An objective analysis is needed in this. A person with curiosity in psychology like you may dissect it better.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

SP,

In your example, Indians are generous to wealthier relatives. A sibling rivalry and social status is in play. What is the incentive of rickshaw driver in Rawalpindi who forgoes a stranger’s fare never to see him again? Sometimes our hospitality can be quite stupid. If a guest asks for refuge, we won’t give him even if FIA is at the door. Conversely, our per capita income was higher than India at one time, we were still good to our guests.

I will be very honest with you Indian Muslims visiting relatives in Pakistan are not well-off. They still get the same love and treatment as any other guest. Where is the inferiority complex? In Pakistan, nobody gives a hoot about someone from ‘villlayat’.

I was only trying to describe possible misunderstanding due to cultural differences. If all you took out from my comment was “pakistan is better than india in hospitality”, than we have another cultural misunderstanding !

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan with less than capable clout depends heavily on that generosity showoff ( sorry if was mean). It is not with all neighbours (like afghanistan).

…. In our culture, show off is when you SHOW your material belongings. Generosity is when you GIVE your material wealth. No offense taken.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

People in South Asia, Middle East and the Orient suck up to the white people. Caucasians get extra attention and hospitality everywhere. In India, by default the term “foreigner” refers to white people. If someone fakes an accent, relatives get thrilled to their bones. On top of that people of these regions sometimes become mean towards each other in the presence of white people. People switch to demonstration mode whenever white people show up. My nephew married a Canadian girl (white of course) and my folks were bending over backwards preparing to welcome her. Firanghee bahu is very special in many parts of the region. Everyone is desperate to explain all aspects of “our” culture to “them” with periodic, “this is how we wash our rear ends” demonstration. And people vie with each other to get their attention. I sometimes wonder why cricket teams in South Asia always have “white” coaches. Isn’t there any competent ex-player who can run the show? Younis Khan was all teeth when he said his team won the 20/20 World cup for Bob Woolmer sahib. Hospitality comes with a lot of inferiority complex towards fair skinned people. I have at least seen how Indians treat Chinese or “Negros” in India. And I have heard that in China, the latter are low down the order as well.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Singh, but in Pakistan, I would say the opposite is true. Fellow South Asians are from Lanka, India, Bangladesh are treated the best. There is shyness with westerners.

Conversely, you may have seen timidness in Indian players with the sledging Australians a few years back. But Pakistani players like Akram, Akhtar et al stared them down eyeball to eyeball, sledge for sledge. Even if they were blasting us for sixes all over the ground !!! lol.

Bob Woolmer holds a VERY special place in the heart of Pakistani cricketers. God bless his soul, he was a wonderful human being and a ‘fatherly’ figure to Younis Khan. It had nothing to do with Woolmer being a white man.

The real problem with South Asians is that we see ill even in each other even in good deeds.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

correction: we see ill in each other even in good deed.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Shoaibo: “But Pakistani players like Akram, Akhtar et al stared them down eyeball to eyeball, sledge for sledge. Even if they were blasting us for sixes all over the ground !!! lol.”

That kind of standing up has started with Indian cricketers as well. In the Sydney test it took the peak form where Harbhajan Singh would not bow down. The test ended up as a farce and Austrailans were sat down and made to change their methods. In the Perth test they played like nuns and lost the test match to India. After that they have not been able to beat India.

I have not been to Pakistan and will give credit to your words about complexes about white people. In India for sure there is a lot of complex.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“People in South Asia, Middle East and the Orient suck up to the white people. Caucasians get extra attention and hospitality everywhere.” Posted by KPSingh01

You can also add South America, Africa & Carribean countries to that list. I don’t buy that it’s any different in Pakistan. Although I haven’t been to that country, I’ve seen enough Pakistanis behave in a similar fashion in other countries.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I did not suggest a complete absence of the trait but a difference in degree of application.
Please make a Pakistani friend and visit his home. Your heart may not soften but your opinion will.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

I’ve visited quite a few Pakistani homes & attended Pakistani-hosted parties, to know a thing or two about Pakistani hospitality, no issue there. I was referring to the “no special treatment to caucasians” part.

“Your heart may not soften”

You seem to have pre-concieved notions about everyone here & that’s a bit strange for a newcomer. My advice is the same: Stop judging people, you know nothing about!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Ahhh. I was referring to hospitality. I retract my judgement.

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive
 

Guys

WE have heard quite a bit about warm hospitality. How about an equally important point of being a gracious guest?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Afridi that Indians do not, repeat, DO NOT have same hearts as Pakistanis. Indians do not wish to fly any flag in Islamabad as against Pakistani wishes of flying Islamic flag in Red Fort (Built by a Muslim Shehenshah Shah Jahan and a glory and pride of every Indian irrespective of his/her religion and then a symbol of Indian, supposedly a Hindu nation’s Independence, is there a greater irony or stupidity in Pakistani thoughts), we do not wish everyday bomb blasts in Karachi/Islamabad/Peshawar etc, we do not want any fundamentalism of any kind be it try to subscribe to any religion, we do not wish to attack Pakistani Parliament, we do not consider ourselves being victimised because of our religions, we do not wish to get into any arms race with anyone, we have not taken it upon ourselves to provide nukes to every other person who pays.

I bet had Afridi gone home after beating India he would have said something along the lines of conquering India and hindus in game of cricket. He is just trying to save his a** and nothing more is to be read into it.

On hospitality, frankly speaking both the countries might have problems because both have all kinds of people and a small sample can never be considered a result. This is error of sample collection. Too small size of sampling can never throw up correct statistical results. Full Stop.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive
 

Pashtoons by and large are hospitable people. One could agree with such a generalisation. Afridis are also Pashtoons! This does not however follow that Afridis are also hospitable!! Nor or those Pashtoons hospitable in the classic sense who were integrated into the Indian culture for centuries. Imran khan does claim that his ancestory is of Pashton origin, but his culture is very foreign to Pashtoons.
One could compare Afridis with the dutch or Scottish people, who are the most miser among the europeans!

Sorry Afridis, Dutch and Scotsmen, no harm was intnded.

Posted by fibs | Report as abusive
 

Pashtoons are by and large hospitable, when compared with Indian folks. Afridis are Pashtoons. This does not, however, follow that Afridis are hospiable people as such.
Americans are the most hospitable and generous people in the world! This is continuously changing ofcourse, due to the mix in their population.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

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