Sunday, 9 August 2020

Cricket Diplomacy: An Exercise In Sheer Futility

Updated: April 16, 2011 11:24 am

In an exhilarating and gripping semifinal of Cricket World Cup, India comprehensively thrashed Pakistan. However, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invitation to his Pakistani counterpart as a cricket diplomacy to resolve the issues between the two countries, particularly after 26/11, turned out to be a wild goose chase. Two full years and four months have passed since the horrendous Mumbai attacks and the continuous aiding and abetting to terrorism from Pakistan has not supported the cause of a good “talking point”. If the PM believed that by inviting Pakistani leaders India would be able to improve relations with Pakistan, then he was mistaken. For, there have been numerous rounds of talks between two countries without any results as Pakistan has a continuous aggressive mindset towards India. Unless that attitude is changed, talks will never be fruitful. For the success of talks, the situation does not matter much. The mindset matters more. India has always offered readiness for talks. But Pakistan has adopted an approach that it cannot live with Bharat. Pakistan’s politicians always try to be wise and friendly with the civilized world when they are outside Pakistan or are in need of free aid, but the moment they reach Pakistan they renounce the relationship talks and are grabbed by their inner evil and the surrounding fundamentalists. The more they shake hands, the more they backstab. Not only India, but other countries of the world have also had a taste of Pakistan’s lies. Madeline Albright, the ex-US Secretary of State, according to media reports, once called Pakistan “an international migraine”. So, I don’t think there was any use of this meeting. Pakistan will never be serious to do anything about the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks. Their Prime Minister will be back in the business of hypocrisy once he reaches Pakistan.

                History is witness that the talks between India and Pakistan have mostly been a futile exercise. Pakistan often fails to look at the basis of its troubles stemming back since its formation. Pakistani rulers thought that it would be easy to get Kashmir by force and sent armed mercenaries and soldiers in tribal dress. It was the first major action of a newly formed nation to get land by violence and force. This bad boy violent behaviour has unfortunately prevailed till now and spilled over into demons of terrorism. The fact of the matter is that they have consistently tried to maintain and whip up Kashmir frenzy, turned the country into a hell of intolerance, violence and fanaticism. Their sheer incompetence has pushed the country to such an unenviable corner, how could they be assumed to be wise enough to reduce tensions, show true leadership and reduce tensions with India? In fact, Pakistan is unsure of her internal governance, unable to change the ways of her army and ISI. It is the country where the General has power to attack without civil government being aware of such a misadventure. Musharraf did so in Kargil by mounting an attack so as to earn admiration of people and then staged a coup to get power. Pakistani army dreads the black day, when India would not be an enemy. That would put an end to its undue power on people and civil government of Pakistan. The Pak army and ISI will do every thing to shout—“India is about to attack” charade to maintain its vice like grip and resulting demonic powers. What is more, it is unable to unify the ‘nation’ through Islam. It is bizarre that all that emphasis on a ‘pure land of Muslims’ has turned out to be the dampest squib of all—Sunnis killing Shias, Ahmadiyas and Sufis.

                Pakistanis are helpless victims of the grave circumstances brought about so callously, by galaxy of their rulers. Eventually the leaders make nations and societies, by expanding their wider vision and painstakingly working forward to a better society. But what happens when nations, particularly new ones, are afflicted with bad leaders, who can only use the stereotypes and age-old prejudices to rally people around and exploits emotions to get or retain power? Unfortunately, that has happened without a break in Pakistan and still continues, whereas, India as a historic entity, as an old civilisation, as a modernising country, makes better sense. A ‘soft state’, it is, regrettably, but a meaningful State, nevertheless. Therefore, Prime Minister treaded a dangerous ground by inviting Pakistani PM to the Mohali semifinal, because sports and politics should not be mixed as the move could easily backfire, especially since the contenders are two countries that are at odds. Also, we all have a naive feeling that somehow our country follows principles rather than pursue interests selfishly. That might be good to sleep better at night, but is not helpful when trying to think about events on the scale of governments or countries or diplomacy. Finally, I feel unnecessary hype was generated around the Manmohan Singh’s cricket diplomacy in the media. The electronic media, in particular, went overboard mixing politics with sports. All cricket lovers know that every possible act of goodwill on the political front would be quickly forgotten by the leaders—once the match was over. So let us, therefore, revel in India’s victory over Pakistan and wish India wins the final match in Mumbai too.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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