KARACHI: A group of hooligans are defying the ICC, the Indian government and the state of Maharashtra to prevent cricket ties between Pakistan and India. A cricket rivalry more intense than the Ashes, a source of anticipation, excitement and enjoyment for millions of people on both sides, is being sabotaged by extremists. The Indian and Maharashtra governments are either impotent and incompetent, as they are unable to control this menace, or they are covertly support the Shiv Sena’s sentiments. Either way, it is time for the ICC to stand up and show some moral courage. If the security of the players, umpires and officials of any one country cannot be guaranteed, as a first step, all international cricket events in which any ICC member is participating, should be banned in Maharashtra.
As for the PCB, they have shown their sincerity and gone the extra mile. The PCB chairman has demonstrated his patience and diplomacy. Now it’s time for him to take a firm stance and gather support from other ICC members to pressure the BCCI to honour its commitments, failing which Pakistan should not take part in any international cricket event being staged in India. Withdrawal from the forthcoming World Twenty20 in India is the first step.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.
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