Politics December 2, 2008

United we stand

64

Cricket is a shared love of the people of South Asia but we share much more than cricket. I say this on my return from a conference of the South Asian Health Foundation, a UK charitable organisation that seeks to improve the health of the South Asian community. It is an organisation that I am fond of, and not just because I am one of the patrons. Each gathering includes many representatives of all South Asian nations and religions, yet we are never divided by nationality or religion. Instead, we stand united in seeking a better life for people who share our background.

This easy unity fills me with hope that even this horrendous week cannot destroy what the people of South Asia share, for what we have in common far outweighs our differences. Outside the fevered atmosphere of South Asia, the passion that surrounds those differences seems nonsensical and horribly misguided. Indeed, all South Asian nations are now victims of barbaric violence. We fight a common enemy: the murderers who seek to divide us.

What has cricket to do with this? Everything. Cricket, as my friend Saad Shafqat once wrote, is the magic glue that binds South Asia. It is a shared passion and pleasure in a region that is consumed by an overwhelming misery. Cricket has helped intitiate dialogue and collaboration on previous occasions when war was looming--and we must cling to every prospect of dialogue and collaboration because a conflict between nuclear neighbours brings the dread of unthinkable consequences.

Hence, I add my voice to the passion of Javed Miandad and the wisdom of Sambit Bal. India's upcoming tour of Pakistan, far from being an irrelevance, is fundamental to the dialogue and collaboration that will defeat those who seek to plunge the region into a devastating conflict.

The tour should go ahead. United we stand, divided we are lost.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faridoon on December 6, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Cricket does seem trivial at this juncture. However, I imagine the success of a terrorist attack is gauged beyond the number of people killed. It is gauged by how far it disrupts the lives of people. Hence, it is improtant to show the terrorists that we continue on with our normal lives in spite of their most malicious actions. And this has to be done in all walks of life, including sport.

    England should play the test series in India. India should undertake a full tour of Pakistan.

    These attacks are a blatant attempt to divide us. There can be no better riposte than joining hands instead.

    I wish both governments would make better media stance. Instead of statements like "We are waiting for them to give us proof" and "We are waiting for them to take action" they should be telling the world how well they are working together on investigating the matter. How unfortunate that people like Sambit and Kamran are not our leaders.

  • Imz on December 6, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    Ray - Consider this, you can be blamed for the upbringing for your son, but can you just go out and kill him for being a hooligan?

    Also is it really all your fault when he has been spoilt more by your friends (Saudi Arabia, U.S., etc.. during and post the Russian invasion). Now when those same people point fingers at you for some of their own faults you are left in a very delicate position... Do you favor your son despite him being wrong or do you side with your "righteous" friends? However, I can assure you Pakistan is doing all it can to defeat the "infidels" (terrorists). It is not a job that can be done overnight otherwise the mighty U.S. would have been done with Afghanistan and Iraq by now and turned its attention completely to North Korea and Iran. There is no agenda which keeps counts of the brave soldiers that lost their lives on the border or during Lal Masjid siege, but too many lives have been lost yet we keep fighting. I hope I answered all your questions.

  • Omair on December 6, 2008, 3:32 GMT

    I request all the participants to please keep the comments to cricket.

  • Imz on December 6, 2008, 3:15 GMT

    Gautam, apology accepted, i understand your frustration completely. As for those creating havoc are not always pakistani, there are Afghans and believe it or not Indians involved as well. They have been brainwashed to the extent they cannot judge humane from inhumane. As for saner voices taking over, it is hard to determine which voice is sane which isn't. When Musharraf was in power, everyone opposed seemed sane, now Zardari in power Musharraf looked saner. Welcome to Pakistani politics. We need a few decades of democratic gov'ts before we can have a real stable and purposeful gov't. The sane people at the moment are more worried about bringing food to their table and their safety then take part in a process which could further endanger their lives. Think calmly and answer me, Will waging war against Pakistan make you any safer? How did people from Pakistan reach your port in a boat with weapons? Perhaps your anger would be better directed at your gov't till full evidence is revealed

  • StaniArmy on December 5, 2008, 19:11 GMT

    Thanks Ray for you open-mindedness which is missing from so many angry Indians that are quick to blame Pakistan.In reply to your camps question. 1stly, its not as simple as "theres a terrorist camp, let's close it down".The social infrastructure in Pakistan is very fragmented - this will take decades to change & needs a stable governmnt which we want but we haven’t had for years.Also,the border with Afghanistan is very mountainous & porous so is very difficult to control.With those things in mind it is very difficult to hunt out these people who can move very easily.You can’t say that we are doing nothing about it.When people like Vikram ask "what have you done to stop terrorism?"..you wonder where he has been since 9/11. Which country has done more than us even with so much against it? Bhutto was assassinated; the Marriott was bombed yet some short sighted Indians still think Pakistanis or Muslims are responsible?There are as many Muslims in India as there are in Pakistan - fact.

  • John on December 5, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    People sometime say no to knee jerk reaction. I say no to knee jerk comments either. Just take time out. We can't find solutions or answers at one go. Time out gives people to reflect and get pass the boil point. The knee jerk reaction of the English cricketers is understandable. It's human nature. What they need is time to reflect what this is all about. I am pretty sure given the chance to time out they will come back. The same applies to the Indians right now and any one of us in our daily lives. Hope all this make sense. Sometimes you learn these things when you hit your forties. Young Blood is too hot to handle. Sports is I guess is one of the outlets for them to boil.

  • Gautam on December 5, 2008, 6:23 GMT

    Dear Imz, No I am not dyslexic, and apologies for spelling Pakistan incorrectly. The other half is only a manner of speech, I am aware that by and large Pakistanis are a peace loving people no different from us, however the section which creates this type of havoc engages our collective conscience to the extent that it seems more than half. My piece only reflects the frustration towards the fact that we are not able to engage in the manner we should, but in all fairness I hope you would agree that it is essential for the Saner voices of Pakistan to take control and defeat the evil.

  • Imz on December 5, 2008, 1:58 GMT

    Anwar Thair is absolutely correct, it was negligence from pakistan as well for letting these "mujahideens" into pakistan after the war, while the west was giving them more than just moral support. Which is why it is so complicated, India must realize that removing these training camps is not that easy there is the possibility of a civil war erupting due to this. The nation splits, and i wonder how safe Indians would feel having an NWFP and Baluchistan not under a gov't based in Punjab.

    Gautam, do you have dyslexia or you just did not feel necessary to spell "Pakistan" properly? And also "the other half" implies that half the people are terrorists. Clearly not the case so please show a little more respect.

    Perhaps cricket should not be discussed right now, nobody is thinking about cricket, 183 people have lost their lives, let's show them some respect please. The tour should go ahead eventually but it should be hosted by both countries, a test in Mumbai, Karachi, and Abu Dhabi each.

  • Farooq on December 4, 2008, 22:32 GMT

    Hatred is the cause of this. Should we postpone the series then we will practically be handing the victory to the terrorists. But should we let this go on, it may be dangerous but at least it will show that we aren't afraid of these cowards. Cricket is the common factor in South Asia. Take it out of the equation and we get Hatred. Postponing this series will evidently mean the division of India and Pakistan even further. I dont believe this is the answer. Lets all unite and let those cowards know we will not stand for this horrific killing of a large number of the population!!!

  • waterbuffalo on December 4, 2008, 19:33 GMT

    "International Sport is war without the bullets"-George Orwell. He said this more than 50 years ago, and it is more true today than it has ever been. Can you imagine the masses in India reacting to an LBW dismissal of Tendulkar or Dhoni? The only way the series will be seen as a triumph of peace building is if the Indians beat Pakistan comfortably (which may very well happen).

  • Faridoon on December 6, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Cricket does seem trivial at this juncture. However, I imagine the success of a terrorist attack is gauged beyond the number of people killed. It is gauged by how far it disrupts the lives of people. Hence, it is improtant to show the terrorists that we continue on with our normal lives in spite of their most malicious actions. And this has to be done in all walks of life, including sport.

    England should play the test series in India. India should undertake a full tour of Pakistan.

    These attacks are a blatant attempt to divide us. There can be no better riposte than joining hands instead.

    I wish both governments would make better media stance. Instead of statements like "We are waiting for them to give us proof" and "We are waiting for them to take action" they should be telling the world how well they are working together on investigating the matter. How unfortunate that people like Sambit and Kamran are not our leaders.

  • Imz on December 6, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    Ray - Consider this, you can be blamed for the upbringing for your son, but can you just go out and kill him for being a hooligan?

    Also is it really all your fault when he has been spoilt more by your friends (Saudi Arabia, U.S., etc.. during and post the Russian invasion). Now when those same people point fingers at you for some of their own faults you are left in a very delicate position... Do you favor your son despite him being wrong or do you side with your "righteous" friends? However, I can assure you Pakistan is doing all it can to defeat the "infidels" (terrorists). It is not a job that can be done overnight otherwise the mighty U.S. would have been done with Afghanistan and Iraq by now and turned its attention completely to North Korea and Iran. There is no agenda which keeps counts of the brave soldiers that lost their lives on the border or during Lal Masjid siege, but too many lives have been lost yet we keep fighting. I hope I answered all your questions.

  • Omair on December 6, 2008, 3:32 GMT

    I request all the participants to please keep the comments to cricket.

  • Imz on December 6, 2008, 3:15 GMT

    Gautam, apology accepted, i understand your frustration completely. As for those creating havoc are not always pakistani, there are Afghans and believe it or not Indians involved as well. They have been brainwashed to the extent they cannot judge humane from inhumane. As for saner voices taking over, it is hard to determine which voice is sane which isn't. When Musharraf was in power, everyone opposed seemed sane, now Zardari in power Musharraf looked saner. Welcome to Pakistani politics. We need a few decades of democratic gov'ts before we can have a real stable and purposeful gov't. The sane people at the moment are more worried about bringing food to their table and their safety then take part in a process which could further endanger their lives. Think calmly and answer me, Will waging war against Pakistan make you any safer? How did people from Pakistan reach your port in a boat with weapons? Perhaps your anger would be better directed at your gov't till full evidence is revealed

  • StaniArmy on December 5, 2008, 19:11 GMT

    Thanks Ray for you open-mindedness which is missing from so many angry Indians that are quick to blame Pakistan.In reply to your camps question. 1stly, its not as simple as "theres a terrorist camp, let's close it down".The social infrastructure in Pakistan is very fragmented - this will take decades to change & needs a stable governmnt which we want but we haven’t had for years.Also,the border with Afghanistan is very mountainous & porous so is very difficult to control.With those things in mind it is very difficult to hunt out these people who can move very easily.You can’t say that we are doing nothing about it.When people like Vikram ask "what have you done to stop terrorism?"..you wonder where he has been since 9/11. Which country has done more than us even with so much against it? Bhutto was assassinated; the Marriott was bombed yet some short sighted Indians still think Pakistanis or Muslims are responsible?There are as many Muslims in India as there are in Pakistan - fact.

  • John on December 5, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    People sometime say no to knee jerk reaction. I say no to knee jerk comments either. Just take time out. We can't find solutions or answers at one go. Time out gives people to reflect and get pass the boil point. The knee jerk reaction of the English cricketers is understandable. It's human nature. What they need is time to reflect what this is all about. I am pretty sure given the chance to time out they will come back. The same applies to the Indians right now and any one of us in our daily lives. Hope all this make sense. Sometimes you learn these things when you hit your forties. Young Blood is too hot to handle. Sports is I guess is one of the outlets for them to boil.

  • Gautam on December 5, 2008, 6:23 GMT

    Dear Imz, No I am not dyslexic, and apologies for spelling Pakistan incorrectly. The other half is only a manner of speech, I am aware that by and large Pakistanis are a peace loving people no different from us, however the section which creates this type of havoc engages our collective conscience to the extent that it seems more than half. My piece only reflects the frustration towards the fact that we are not able to engage in the manner we should, but in all fairness I hope you would agree that it is essential for the Saner voices of Pakistan to take control and defeat the evil.

  • Imz on December 5, 2008, 1:58 GMT

    Anwar Thair is absolutely correct, it was negligence from pakistan as well for letting these "mujahideens" into pakistan after the war, while the west was giving them more than just moral support. Which is why it is so complicated, India must realize that removing these training camps is not that easy there is the possibility of a civil war erupting due to this. The nation splits, and i wonder how safe Indians would feel having an NWFP and Baluchistan not under a gov't based in Punjab.

    Gautam, do you have dyslexia or you just did not feel necessary to spell "Pakistan" properly? And also "the other half" implies that half the people are terrorists. Clearly not the case so please show a little more respect.

    Perhaps cricket should not be discussed right now, nobody is thinking about cricket, 183 people have lost their lives, let's show them some respect please. The tour should go ahead eventually but it should be hosted by both countries, a test in Mumbai, Karachi, and Abu Dhabi each.

  • Farooq on December 4, 2008, 22:32 GMT

    Hatred is the cause of this. Should we postpone the series then we will practically be handing the victory to the terrorists. But should we let this go on, it may be dangerous but at least it will show that we aren't afraid of these cowards. Cricket is the common factor in South Asia. Take it out of the equation and we get Hatred. Postponing this series will evidently mean the division of India and Pakistan even further. I dont believe this is the answer. Lets all unite and let those cowards know we will not stand for this horrific killing of a large number of the population!!!

  • waterbuffalo on December 4, 2008, 19:33 GMT

    "International Sport is war without the bullets"-George Orwell. He said this more than 50 years ago, and it is more true today than it has ever been. Can you imagine the masses in India reacting to an LBW dismissal of Tendulkar or Dhoni? The only way the series will be seen as a triumph of peace building is if the Indians beat Pakistan comfortably (which may very well happen).

  • Anwar Thair on December 4, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    Well said "RAY", the problem is that all these groups and training camps are Russian War left over. These same groups were well supported and well fed by WEST at that time and were "Mujahideen" and now they are terrorists. The philosophy and ideology of these groups is always been the same. We just turned the blind eye towards them at that time and let them grow to such a menace they are now. Now it is cleanup time and as with any cleanup it will take lots of time and effort since these groups are deep rooted. Regarding the blame game anything goes wrong in India it is always blamed on Pakistan and vice versa.

  • Anwar on December 4, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    I dont understand why indians blame Pakistan for this attack, show us some proofs, we want to see proofs. I dont want indians to come to Pakistan for series if they dont like us.

  • Saad on December 4, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    I have seen some really sensible comments from both sides which is very heartening. As our president Zardari said a few days ago, if we are only even thinking about peaceful relations then half the job is already done! And yea i think it should be quite visible to everyone now that the Pakistani government and army is proactively tackling the threat of militancy in Pakistan, but the US drone strikes are undermining their efforts by shifting public opinion to a negative perspective, however this is wholly another debate. Regarding the cricket tour, i dont think it is in our hands as to whether it will continue or not, as unfortunately, cricketing ties b/w the 2 countries are also dependent on the stance their respective governments take against each other so only time will tell as to what will happen. In any case we should all hope for the best and for common sense to prevail!

  • Ray on December 4, 2008, 9:42 GMT

    "Dear Indians: Pakistanis aren't terrorist. Dear Pakistanis: India isn't going to eat you."

    Well said Faisal. It is rather unfortunate that our government jumps to blame Pakistan for half the misfortunes we suffer. And it is true that Pakistanis themselves have been (and continue to be) victims of terrorism during this decade.

    But I do have a question for my Pakistani cousins across the border. There are these training camps in Pakistan, correct? Then why doesn't your government do anything to close them down? Consider a scenario where I might be a righteous person, but if I've got a hooligan son who doesn't listen to me and goes around beating up innocent kids from the neighbourhood, am I not to be held at least partly responsible for his behaviour? I should have disciplined him when he was growing up and I didn't for whatever reasons. But now he's gotten really out of hand and every one is blaming me for his misdeeds. What should my next step be?

  • Dani on December 4, 2008, 9:39 GMT

    Majority of the people from both sides are just simple folks who want to get along with their lives in a peaceful manner. As an Indian, I dont blame the normal Pakistani public who are subject to more blasts on a regular basis than an average Indian.But the question is what are we doing about it? Atleast now the people in India have woken up and are demostrating against the Government demanding security. You, my Pakistani brethren, have a duty now to ask your Government the same! In my opinion, the poor Pakistani public is facing the results of a flawed policy of the earlier Governments that encouraged militancy (against enemies - percieved or otherwise) and that has come back to haunt them. Make your Government and the the terrorists know that you people have had enough with terrorism. When the terrorists realize they lack public support and when they see public hostility against them, these incidents will stop.But it is up to you to decide!Till then sad as it may be..No tour please!

  • Terrence on December 4, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    I am surprised at some of the comments on this site particularly coming from Indian supporters. I would have expected Indians would be the first to accept the willing hand of Pakistan who seem prepared to send a strong message to the terrorists that they will not be able to disrupt the relations between India and Pakistan. So many postives have come out of cricket exchanges between the two countries, it would be a shame to let it all go and emotions take over once again. History has shown in relations between India and Pakistan that tough talking and action does not lead to anything positive; and it is through exchanges particularly cricket that has led to goodwill amongst people of both countries. Let good sense prevail! Let the show go on! I as a neutral observer from Australia am looking forward to the excitement of Indo-Pak cricket.

  • HEMAL on December 4, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    Personally I am of the opinion that the Tour of Pakistan should be cancelled. In fact there should be no sports being exchanged as this is not the time. This will further give the terrorists an oppertunity to target sportsmen and if they succeed then the consequences could be far reaching. I feel that we should not blame the the entire nation of Pakistan for what has happened as there are people who have a family who go out of their Homes to win their daily Bread as we do the same in India. However my mind cannot think of cricket even happening in India for the timebeing. My heart feels sad for those who have lost their dear ones. I would rather have my focus on the Governments in both the countries and the steps they are taking to combat terrorism. We the people have had enough on Either side of the Border and it is for us to awake and see that first of all Peace and Security prevails around us. Cricket will happen and take care of itself at the later stage.

  • Gautam on December 4, 2008, 6:46 GMT

    There are a lot of compelling reasons for India to not tour pakisthan, please understand that we have nothing against the saner and right thinking people like yourself of pakisthan. But it is the other half which leaves us in despair. India is an open and diverse nation and this openness is being exploited today, unless the saner voices in your country can come together and uproot the evil which has gotten hold of your country, no one would like to come over. Yes we are both victims of terror, but the source unfortunately is the same and originates in pakisthan. Untill Pakisthan have control over there own destiny, it cannot instill confidence in others.

  • Badar on December 4, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    Cricket diplomacy is the best medicine for the tension disease. Keep sports out of all the dirty politics. Cricket unite people and the last few series between the two countries are a good example of the warm feelings both neighbors have for each other. We're not cowards to let the terrorists dictate to us. Here I'd like to ask those Indians who are against the trip, did the US stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia when the Saudi terrorists destroyed the twin towers? No, because although they were Saudis but they're not sent by their government and acted on behalf of a terrorist group. We all know the terrorists don't have any religion or nationality. So why penalize the government and people of Pakistan even if one of the Mumbai shooters was indeed a Pakistani. Stop generalizing people. The show must go on and we need help from big brother India because the Champions Trophy will only be held after a successful Indian trip. Then we'll have the WC2011 to host together. Peace to all. Cheers.

  • Satish on December 4, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    DesiHungama, I never implied a bomb going off in Pakistan is any less dangerous than one that goes off in India. We have to realise Sport or Film or Arts never solved a problem. They are temporary relief which makes us feel all is well with the world but there are hard facts like mindless violence which comeback to haunt us. Not just Pakistan, I currently don't want even England to tour India. Cricket has become way too trivial.

  • Anand on December 4, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with the majority of comments in this page that the indian and pakistani people must stand together - "shoulder to shoulder" as the phrase goes. We need to distinguish once and for all between a people and the incompetent govts we are usually lumbered with. Cricket and for that matter any cross cultural people to people contact must go on. If any one has any illusions as to what the ordinary people of pakistan think of Indians, one just needs to look up some articles in this very website during India first tour of pakistan after the break.

  • cricpolitics on December 4, 2008, 2:54 GMT

    Let's postpone the cricket until Indian General elections are done next year. I'm sure many things would clear up by that time and people will have enough time to think rationally.

  • MQI on December 4, 2008, 2:45 GMT

    How about moving the 3 test matches to DHAKA, SHARJAH and DELHI. Better chance of success and huge friendly crowd, least chance of terrorist disturbance. This series must be played as we want to see a INDO-PAK test. We have not seen two good and balanced sides playing between the two rival neighbors. It will help improving relation too, which is no less important than the game.

  • Saad on December 4, 2008, 2:33 GMT

    It would be fair to say that one of the terrorists motive is to disrupt the cordiality and the peace process b/w the two nations, in which they have seemed to achieve some sort of success. However, if the people of both sides unite and continue co-operating in various sectors as they have been since 2004, then we can defeat the nefarious designs of such negative elements. As I said earlier, politicians and the media is going to continue to misguide the people in pursuit of their own objectives, it is upto the people to remain steadfast and read between the lines and not fall prey to propaganda and biases.

  • Gajen Raj on December 4, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    As a proud Indian, I feel sick and disgusted at some of the very nasty and spiteful comments that have been made by people who claim to be Indian. You do our country and our name a great disservice buy saying such nasty things...it is at a time like this that we should be standing with our fellow brothers in Paksitan who also denounce terrorism and are also a great victim of terrorism. Maybe now is not the time for cricket, but it is not the time to be finger pointing, name calling or mischief making either. It is a great dishonour to reject the hand of friendship when it is offered to you.

  • Give Peace a chance on December 4, 2008, 1:25 GMT

    When I read the comments of Sambit, Kamran and Suresh Kumar (top), I feel positive than Pakstan and India can overcome their differences and enjoy the many things that we have in common such as food, films, cricket & language. But then I read comments from "indian", ravindra and Naresh and I feel very sad. I know India is obviously hurting, but even now, if people from either country speak, you should speak from the mind and not from your emotions becuase even words can do much damage. But if what these people say is a true reflection of the real feelings of the majority of Indians, then I am afraid hate & ignorance have won. How sad. For if this is the majority view, then everybody will have lost...and there will be no postive interaction between the countries and thus neither people will never be truly happy and will never have lasting peace. Shame on people who hate with such venom....you keep the rest of us divided and repressed.

  • Amirali on December 3, 2008, 20:40 GMT

    I have to express my support to the people of Mumbai and their bravery in these difficult times. I'd consider it quite fair if Indian players chose not to tour for security concerns, although this should be based on a professional evaluation and negotiation of security measures rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

    I also hope Indian pressure is targeted at the right places (the government), rather than at the people and cultural relations. Honestly, does anyone think the terrorists will be least bothered if the cricket is cancelled?

  • Rahul Oak on December 3, 2008, 20:36 GMT

    It is passionate rhetoric, yet that's all it is. For all that we harp about us "defeating" the terrorists, that is mere rationalization. Their aim was to achieve maximum terror and death and the fact that we have to think so much about all this means that they have accomplished this. I know there are millions of Pakistanis who have nothing to do with this, but how can a country whose government's intelligence organization are bedfellows with some certified terrorist organizations be trusted in the present climate? It's all good to say that India must tour but had I had to make a call personally, I probably wouldn't have made the trip. Neither will I blame any English player for hesitating to make the trip to India. This is, after all, a personal choice and this is something that Indians and Pakistanis need to put in perspective: Cricket is just a game. And this is no time for fun and games.

  • Amirali on December 3, 2008, 20:32 GMT

    Honestly, I believe at least part of the motivation of terrorists is to disrupt the peace process and drive a wedge between India and Pakistan. I fully understand the Indian ire if the Pakistani government has not done all expected of it. In fact,speaking as a Pakistani I'd be the first one to thank India if their pressure would lead to a crackdown.

    But all those accusing the government and army of directly supporting terrorists should recall that Musharraf as well as the current President's wife (Benazir) were both frequently targeted. Pakistan is also suffering heavy military casualties fighting these terrorists in the northern regions. As such, to say they're doing nothing is perhaps a little unfair.

    Rooting out terrorists is never an easy task, no matter what the commitment of the government. India should recall their own limited success in combating home-grown terrorism before assuming the worst about Pakistan's difficulties in stamping it out.

  • Ruschil on December 3, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    I agree with Kamran's sentiments. I personally don't see what a cancellation of the Test series is going to achieve, except sour the relationships between the 2 cricketing boards. But of course Sharad Pawar will have to act in line with the centre's evolving diplomatic relationships with PAK.

    Cricket can certainly bring the people of the two countries together. However i can't see it doing much to ward off future terrorist attacks

  • Bhavik on December 3, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    I think we are seeing double standards here, why should we not play Pakistan if England are willing to play us? Pakistan is just across the border and England is on the other side of the world.

  • Ravindra on December 3, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    As an Indian, we are angry now; but not against common people of Pakistan. We are angry against the governments of both India and Pakistan; against Pakistan because they are not controlling the elements that are creating havoc all over the world. We are angry with our own government because they are not able to force Pakistan government to act against the terror creating elements; like USA does. Though we also love cricket as much as Pakistanis do, I believe it is not the right time for the two countries to play cricket now. It is not to punish Pakistan cricket, but to put pressure on Pakistan government. I also don't agree with the argument by Pakistanis that they are also victims of terrorism. Terrorists were and are being trained in Pakistan. You suffer for what you are doing. Why should we suffer from what you are doing. At the end of the day, cricket is very important part in our lives; but it is not the life. There is so much in the lift without cricket.

  • Naresh on December 3, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    So did anyone expect Sambit and Omsan, nice boys both, to write anything different? (Sunny would be more interesting). Sorry, but the situation is too bad to play cricket now - and yes, we know Pakis are also victims. Quite simply, I don't think its worth the risk for even England to come to India now (I am scared), leave aside India going to Pakistan. It is well and truly scr..ed up.

  • vaqas on December 3, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    india, or any other country has a right to refuse to play in any country they donot wish to play in. but here is the simple fact, that terrorism is a global phenomenon and so the burden of responsibility lies on everybody that lives on this globe. pakistan may or maynot have been responsible for the attrocious and utterly dispicable act in india. but it happened nonetheless. and god forbid if more of these terrorist activities continue in india she might be subject to boycott from other nations and would thus deprive the joys of home series to the indians. as are the pakistanis today. so i think that, despite all the differences, the countries of the subcontinent should take a stronger stance on the issue and should force the ICC to bring about rules that would heavily penalize countries that refuse to tour, for whatever reason. and at the very least should consider the series as forfieted thus giving the points to the homeside that was deprived of cricket for no fault of its own.peace

  • ArunJose on December 3, 2008, 16:22 GMT

    Kamran, this is a really tricky situation! There are a lot of evidences which shows that the origin of these attacks are from inland pakistan. I am not accusing Pakistan as being a Terrorist state. But, unless we see some action taken by Pakistani government against these terrorist cowards, I don't think we should have any relationships, let alone cricket series.

  • DesiHungama on December 3, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    Kamran - I wholeheartidly agree with you. Satish- When a bomb goes off in Pakistan it kills and maim people, it does not shower them with flowers. To say that a terror attack in Pakistan is of no consequence and a terror attack in India is hugely significant is tantamount to implying there is no civil unrest or domestic terrorism problem in your country and it is all the make of your neighbors. This is ignorant behaviour. We mourn for your loss. We are a smaller country but that does not make us less of a victim. God Bless India!

  • Saif Ali on December 3, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    Its funny how a lot of Indians are running to blame the Pakistan nation as a whole for the terrible attacks in Mumbai.

    Perhaps it is for the same reason that Pakistanis and a lot of Muslims in India blame the Indian Government for the atrocities committed in Kashmir and Gujrat.

    Talk sport, not politics on this forum.

  • Kalyan on December 3, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    We must definitely be united and India must definitely tour Pakistan but the team that travels must be a military team rather than a Cricket team. Pakistan and Indian Military must conduct a joint operation to sweep and eliminate the terrorists who bombed the Marriot and Taj and assassinated Benazir Bhutto and also caused series blasts in Jaipur and Karachi. Once the vermin has been taken care of, not only India but all other cricket teams will come to Pakistan and there will be no more of the perceived double standards. Come on Pakistan, show solidarity in action with India and let us first eliminate the terrorists together and make our lands borderless thus solving the Kashmir issue as well. Only then can we progress freely on all fronts.

  • Rajeev on December 3, 2008, 15:27 GMT

    As an Indian who now lives in the US, I am extremely sad. I had a tough time sleeping the night this happened. I have constantly questioned God for the innocent lives that have been lost and affected by violence. I constantly look at the Cross and I am reminded how Christ died and forgave everyone. That said, I want the infrastructure in India improved, the people compensated adequately for the loss before we play sport and go back to the status quo. Fundamentalism has to be squashed, Peace has to be rebuild, so does the security of the people in both countries and then we can all sit back and enjoy a good game of cricket. We need to get our priorities right before we get back to 'Business As Usual'.

  • Khurram Khan on December 3, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    This current situation is like a chess game and at the moment India does not have the upper hand. World Cup 2011 depends a lot on how India and Pakistan deal together. Even if one country misses out the opportunity to hold any series or tournament, Aussies will surely get the benefit of holding the next World Cup.

    Although my feelings are with the people of both countries but the fact is that instant remedy is never on card for any incident. I urge Asian Cricket lovers to use their brain, not their heart.

  • Hrishi on December 3, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    I strongly disagree Kamran. Recent events are too grave to contemplate playing in Pakistan right now. I enjoy watching some of the Pak cricketers and in other circumstances love to see an In-Pak series. But sport is played among friends. The number of attacks on Indian citizens that have been traced back to terrorists in Pak is too many. The Mumbai attack is the most gruesome this year. Perhaps not everyone in Pak supports these terrorists. But most Indians are not convinced that your government and army does not support them.

  • Vikram on December 3, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    I always see comments or speech from our neighbor saying, we are also victim of terrorism. Instead of saying, what have you done to stop terrorism? You have a history of unstable government. To tell you, and also most people in my country agree, cricket is not the first thing in our mind. Safety of our citizens is top priority. India touring pakistan now does not make any sense. Those who are saying cricket will soothe relations between two countries. I dont think, for us cricket is secondary and our economy and safety is primary.

  • BG on December 3, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    I read most of the comments. This is the cleanest forum I have seen on India Pakistan topic. Please keep it this way. Hassan Sadiq - no one wants to see Pakistan fail as a country, at least India does not want that. India always maintained that STABLE PAKISTAN IS GOOD FOR INDIA, as stable Pakinstan can root out terrorism by itslef without outside help, that is why India supported Pakistan for IMF loan few weeks ago. I think this is not the time for Cricket. India has to clean it's own backyard first. Make internal security more robust and bring back the peace we had before 1984 (terrorism in India started around 1984). How can safety of the players from both sides be guarenteed when Pakistan govt do not have any control over Army and ISI (which is a suspect behind attacks). Pakistani govt is impotent, Army and ISI still calls the shots there. Pakistan is going through transition at the moment. Sports can only do this much, govt from both should act now otherwise it will be too late.

  • Imran Zia on December 3, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    No place is safe in the world at the moment. Pakistan cannot afford tou have India touring and something go wrong. It would be a better option to postpone the series. Time will heal the wounds and in the mean time it is up to both countries to resolve their issues.

  • Ishfaq on December 3, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Pakistan cricket - RIP. Due to ongoing reluctance for other nations touring Pakistan, we should just resign from the ICC and stop playing international cricket.

    Then India, England and Australia can play each other more often (yawn) and eventually cricket will die. We should encourage other sports such as football throughout the country. Incidently cricket is second to football now in Punjab, so watch this space!

  • nuetral on December 3, 2008, 12:36 GMT

    I don't think security is the concern for India playing in Pak. Given the current crisis, Indian gov would look silly to endorse any thing to do with Pak. Understood, state of Pak may not be directly involved but I don't think enough is being done. So unless situations increase dramatically I don't see how the Govt will sanction the tour.

  • Saad on December 3, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    its disappointing to know that there are still some of our indian friends who do not approve of relations between the two countries. terrorism is a global menace which pakistanis have also borne the full brunt of. therefore it is unfair to blame us. people on both sides of the border must stand shoulder to shoulder and thwart the terrorist's and politicians attempts to divide them along ethinc, religious and political lines and for this purpose cricket between the two countries should definitely continue in jan/feb 2009

  • Hiten on December 3, 2008, 9:49 GMT

    This is time for us to step up instead blaming any one i think India should play cricket but not in Pakistan some other country. Like us were i am from it will much safer. or Canada like they played in 1998. So i will chance for us to watch cricket in our country. And one that cricket should continue no matter what. And no will stop them. And my prediction of the series is India will in the series and player of the series will virendra Shewag. He is the simply the best.

  • Hassan Sadiq on December 3, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I agree with both Sambit and Osman out of the love for cricket and peace not out of the fact that the PCB will lose out financially or that we are trying to please and pacify the Indians. Since the past 25 years i have been hearing how pakistan is going down financially and its going to break up it hasnt happend so to all those who are waiting for that dont hold ur breath. We are in support of the victims of this atrocity because we too have lost brothers and sisters but please do not mistake our desire for peace as our weakness. Lets put the hate and anger aside and meet on the field of cricket to show the terrorists we shall not be beaten!!!

  • Indian on December 3, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    This is the time for India to do some basic house cleaning. Cleaning up the terrorists if there are still any and improving the national security are much bigger issues to solve. Let's channelize all the energy on that. Cricket, is it a national priority? No way! Let's send a tough message to those guys. For me country is first. The last thing I want to follow now is cricket and that too with those folks from whose land, the terrorists emerge.

  • djarian on December 3, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    Good one Kamran. However, I am not surprised to see comments from "nicky" as there are people with such approach on both sides who are so shortsighted and do not understand that it's because you do not stand "shoulder to shoulder" you are apart and vulnerable. You do not need anyone else if you are united. Everytime both start getting cozy something terrible happens to keep 'em apart. When do we learn?

  • Ratnakar on December 3, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Well Kamran, forget Dosti and all, but right now, cricket is not the first priority in the minds of many Indians. We are hurt, and angry. And the anger is more against our Govt. Even though BCCI is trying to push through the England tour, not many of us are really interested in it. Right now for us it is immaterial whether India is No 1 or No 2 on ICC rankings, we just want to have a life where we can go safely without fear. People are saying that the show must go on, to display that the terrorists can't disrupt our daily routine, but the show has been going on for quite some time. As of now, i really dont see much sense, in sending the cricket team. Yes maybe in a longer period of time. Yes i know we will miss cricket matches in short term, but if that is the incovenience we have to face for a better future, we are willing to.

  • Haider on December 3, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism so how can we be a party to such in-human attacks. I hope with the passage of time saner voices will prevail in India so we can fight the common enemy.

  • Satish on December 3, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    I am sorry that I disagree with you too like I did with Mr.Bal. The saying that would be more apt is "United we fight, lets do that divided". What we are discussing is far far beyond cricket and sport. I can go on and on spewing vitriol but it might very soon mean Indians and Pakistanis are slinging mud at each other on Cricinfo's forums. So I will not say anything more than that the tour of India to Pakistan is beyond just being about sport. Terrorism and Politics are now involved. There is distrust between the peoples of the two countries and no amount of sport will heal it.

  • R Sivasubramaniam on December 3, 2008, 7:26 GMT

    Yes, Kamran the show must go on albeit under heavy security - but I was impressed by what Wasim Akram said that India should play Pakistan at Mumbai - if that is not possible, the ex-Internations should play a 50-over ODI, just to show the terrorists that they cannot kill cricket.

    While terrorism is a real threat and no country is immune - because all it takes is for a small group of maniacs to destroy the civilised fabric of society - we must also send a clear message to the terrorists that they may disrupt our lives but that they will NOT destroy it.

    Cricket diplomacy between the 4 South Asian Nations is most important and the 4 should support each other. What are friends for if they do not help i the hour of need.

    Siva from Singapore

  • Paki King on December 3, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    I agree with Kamran that India should tour Pakistan. To not would be a great tragedy, not only for Pakistan cricket who have suffered greatly in recent times from teams refusing to tour there, but for cricket as a whole. India who have confronted Eng's view that they cannot let terrorism win must also listen to their own advice. Which brings me to another mater. Why is it a week after the terrorism bombings in India that Eng are hesitant, yet prepared to follow through with the test matches. Especially since it has been well documented that these terrorists were focusing on English and American citizens. Yet if the same thing had happened in Pakistan the chances of a team touring their in the following 6months, let alone a week later would be as close as Zimbabwe becoming the next cricketing power house. These double standards are slowing killing cricket and its time the administration starts to do something about it. There can not be separate rules for different countries.

  • Arsh on December 3, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    Not so soon, Karman. There is a general sense of anger among the Indian people at the moment, and its directed in two directions - towards Pakistan, and towards Indian Government. It would be better if India and Pakistan stayed out of each others way in cricket. There are a lot of things that need to be sorted out between the countries at a higher level before we even think about cricket.

  • vinny on December 3, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    Hi Kamran,

    Excellent article, and as an Indian (now American), I do concur that maintaining cricketing relationship would be a great thing (atleast it keeps some lines of communication open). The only thing that worries me is that it won't take the terrorists long to figure out that since cricket is the glue that holds us together, striking at that glue can tear apart the entire subcontinent. I dread to think the consequences of any terrorist attacks on the cricket teams or at cricket matches either in India or Pakistan, with the current tense climate.

  • Amer Ahmed on December 3, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    First of all I would like to offer my condolences to our neighbors, who lost their loved ones in this tragic and cowardly attack on innocent civilians and pray for the injured. This incidence has politics written all over it, a well planned criminal act to permanently damage our relationship with India. What do they know about religion?, It is all politics. Now cricket - I totally agree that the tour should go as planned. Cricket has always kept a hope alive for us and our neighbors and in past few years this hope has come alive, hence defeating dirty politics of both countries. We do not have any other event, program or business which works as well as cricket in keeping us united. I just hope that cricket can do it again, this time we need it badly.

  • Salim on December 3, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    Wala.. Brilliant. We need to stand together, understanding the political implications as well as regional.

  • M.Q.Islam on December 3, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    I am glad to see two of the most eminent cricket writers, one from India and one from Pakistan have become much more rational and responsible to help bring together the two countries closer. It is unfortunate to see the politicians are playing the blame games disregarding the unseen hands of the international political players to keep the region unrest. The subcontinent was one and had one cricket team some 55 years ago. People who divided that subcontinet should not divide the spirit of the people. I think every single cricket lover enjoy India-pakistan cricket to the same extent as the ashes series is enjoyed by the British and Australians. Why to disappoint those huge population for this series? I have been waiting for this series, I will spend sleepless nights to enjoy the series from USA and thousands like me will do the same form all over the world. Are all these not important than politics? Please have mercy on us, the boards, government and the players, "do not call off".

  • Amir Naqvi (Sydney-Australia) on December 3, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    Pakistan and India being two top cricketing nations in the world always need to join hands together to stay strong on the stage of world cricket.The current situation in sub-contienent requires and demands BCCI and PCB to focus on the bigger picture than emotions. Given the circumstances where all the teams in the world are now hesitant to tour India and Pak, India's decision not to visit Pak will be the last nail in the caskit. IPL,Champions Trophy,World Cup all in the pipeline and one unrealistic decision can lead the two countries both financially and morally to isolation,The isolation and humiliation that Pakistan is already going through from last one year. Go and play with eachother, don't give the chance of excuses to others instead make way for them.I urge the authorities to show some wisdom and diplomacy which is imperative at this point in time.

  • Faisal on December 3, 2008, 4:47 GMT

    Pakistan and India are the perfect match for each other. They both need to realize that people just as cool as them are on the other side of the border. Dear Indians: Pakistanis aren't terrorist. Dear Pakistanis: India isn't going to eat you.

  • Suresh Kumar on December 3, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    More than ever, we need responsible and credible politicians, journalists and citizens on both sides. Kamran, even if India does not play in Pakistan, the players can come together and issue a message to the people of both countries? Imagine Younis Khan and Tendulkar issuing a message together? Or Sehwag and Mohammed Yousaf bringing a message of peace? And why just cricketers? Maybe the people from the arts and culture scene should issue joint statements. Will the respective bureaucracies let this happen? The need of the hour is leadership. Leaders, please step forward. Suresh. hopeasha@gmail.com

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  • Suresh Kumar on December 3, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    More than ever, we need responsible and credible politicians, journalists and citizens on both sides. Kamran, even if India does not play in Pakistan, the players can come together and issue a message to the people of both countries? Imagine Younis Khan and Tendulkar issuing a message together? Or Sehwag and Mohammed Yousaf bringing a message of peace? And why just cricketers? Maybe the people from the arts and culture scene should issue joint statements. Will the respective bureaucracies let this happen? The need of the hour is leadership. Leaders, please step forward. Suresh. hopeasha@gmail.com

  • Faisal on December 3, 2008, 4:47 GMT

    Pakistan and India are the perfect match for each other. They both need to realize that people just as cool as them are on the other side of the border. Dear Indians: Pakistanis aren't terrorist. Dear Pakistanis: India isn't going to eat you.

  • Amir Naqvi (Sydney-Australia) on December 3, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    Pakistan and India being two top cricketing nations in the world always need to join hands together to stay strong on the stage of world cricket.The current situation in sub-contienent requires and demands BCCI and PCB to focus on the bigger picture than emotions. Given the circumstances where all the teams in the world are now hesitant to tour India and Pak, India's decision not to visit Pak will be the last nail in the caskit. IPL,Champions Trophy,World Cup all in the pipeline and one unrealistic decision can lead the two countries both financially and morally to isolation,The isolation and humiliation that Pakistan is already going through from last one year. Go and play with eachother, don't give the chance of excuses to others instead make way for them.I urge the authorities to show some wisdom and diplomacy which is imperative at this point in time.

  • M.Q.Islam on December 3, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    I am glad to see two of the most eminent cricket writers, one from India and one from Pakistan have become much more rational and responsible to help bring together the two countries closer. It is unfortunate to see the politicians are playing the blame games disregarding the unseen hands of the international political players to keep the region unrest. The subcontinent was one and had one cricket team some 55 years ago. People who divided that subcontinet should not divide the spirit of the people. I think every single cricket lover enjoy India-pakistan cricket to the same extent as the ashes series is enjoyed by the British and Australians. Why to disappoint those huge population for this series? I have been waiting for this series, I will spend sleepless nights to enjoy the series from USA and thousands like me will do the same form all over the world. Are all these not important than politics? Please have mercy on us, the boards, government and the players, "do not call off".

  • Salim on December 3, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    Wala.. Brilliant. We need to stand together, understanding the political implications as well as regional.

  • Amer Ahmed on December 3, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    First of all I would like to offer my condolences to our neighbors, who lost their loved ones in this tragic and cowardly attack on innocent civilians and pray for the injured. This incidence has politics written all over it, a well planned criminal act to permanently damage our relationship with India. What do they know about religion?, It is all politics. Now cricket - I totally agree that the tour should go as planned. Cricket has always kept a hope alive for us and our neighbors and in past few years this hope has come alive, hence defeating dirty politics of both countries. We do not have any other event, program or business which works as well as cricket in keeping us united. I just hope that cricket can do it again, this time we need it badly.

  • vinny on December 3, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    Hi Kamran,

    Excellent article, and as an Indian (now American), I do concur that maintaining cricketing relationship would be a great thing (atleast it keeps some lines of communication open). The only thing that worries me is that it won't take the terrorists long to figure out that since cricket is the glue that holds us together, striking at that glue can tear apart the entire subcontinent. I dread to think the consequences of any terrorist attacks on the cricket teams or at cricket matches either in India or Pakistan, with the current tense climate.

  • Arsh on December 3, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    Not so soon, Karman. There is a general sense of anger among the Indian people at the moment, and its directed in two directions - towards Pakistan, and towards Indian Government. It would be better if India and Pakistan stayed out of each others way in cricket. There are a lot of things that need to be sorted out between the countries at a higher level before we even think about cricket.

  • Paki King on December 3, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    I agree with Kamran that India should tour Pakistan. To not would be a great tragedy, not only for Pakistan cricket who have suffered greatly in recent times from teams refusing to tour there, but for cricket as a whole. India who have confronted Eng's view that they cannot let terrorism win must also listen to their own advice. Which brings me to another mater. Why is it a week after the terrorism bombings in India that Eng are hesitant, yet prepared to follow through with the test matches. Especially since it has been well documented that these terrorists were focusing on English and American citizens. Yet if the same thing had happened in Pakistan the chances of a team touring their in the following 6months, let alone a week later would be as close as Zimbabwe becoming the next cricketing power house. These double standards are slowing killing cricket and its time the administration starts to do something about it. There can not be separate rules for different countries.

  • R Sivasubramaniam on December 3, 2008, 7:26 GMT

    Yes, Kamran the show must go on albeit under heavy security - but I was impressed by what Wasim Akram said that India should play Pakistan at Mumbai - if that is not possible, the ex-Internations should play a 50-over ODI, just to show the terrorists that they cannot kill cricket.

    While terrorism is a real threat and no country is immune - because all it takes is for a small group of maniacs to destroy the civilised fabric of society - we must also send a clear message to the terrorists that they may disrupt our lives but that they will NOT destroy it.

    Cricket diplomacy between the 4 South Asian Nations is most important and the 4 should support each other. What are friends for if they do not help i the hour of need.

    Siva from Singapore