From Anil Nair in Mumbai
The best way to counter Pakistan Cricket Board'srefusal to play in Ahmedabad would have been to ask them to go jump into the ocean. But as usual, we fell into the trap which had been well laid out by the Pakistanis. The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Shaharyar Khan, said that their decision not to play at Ahmedabad was due to ?political reasons?, which later turned to be for ?security? reasons. On February 10, Pakistan finally gathered the gumption to tell us that it was both?in Ahmedabad over 2,000 Muslims were killed in riots. Such polemics are useless; Pakistan is working on the presumption that the Congress government will find it hard to choose between national honour and secularism, and by all measure it will choose the latter at the cost of the former.
Three-and-a-half years after communal riots, the Pakistan Cricket Board had no business to rake up the issue. But now its intentions of creating a controversy are becoming clear. First, it wanted to avenge India for its refusal to play in Karachi and Peshawar. Second, it wanted to equate Gujarat to Pakistan'sinternal situation and show to the world that one was only as bad as the other, which is ridiculous because Karachi and Peshawar have Mullahs ruling the roost with intermittent terrorist attacks and life threats.
Only last month Ahmedabad held Vibrant Gujarat festival which attracted international community and investment of over Rs 54,000 crore.
The way Pakistan Cricket Board's?political reasons? became ?security? reasons in a matter of hours after India protested, and then finally it became both, only reaffirms its strategy to gain such an exact reaction from India. At the end of the day, the Central Government was seen scrambling for cover with an appeal to the Pakistan Cricket Board to ?reconsider its decision?. There was the secular lobby in India preaching on national television that as India was wrong earlier when it refused to play in Peshawar and Karachi, Pakistan only paid it back by the same token. It needs to be asserted here and now that there were frequent bombings in several Pakistan cities then (and even now) which called for security reassessment for Indian players, unlike Ahmedabad where the international community had only last month had a successful business festival which attracted over Rs 54,000 crore in investments. Where is the comparison? The Congress government at the Centre was chagrined about supporting Narendra Modi'sstatement on Gujarat asmita and was late in giving Pakistan a befitting reply.
As the Chief Minister of Gujarat pointed out at a public rally in Ranchi, Pakistan seems to be itching for a fight and leaves no opportunity to deride India. India'sreaction should have come adequate and fast. The success of cricket diplomacy devolves more on Pakistan than India, all because Pakistan needs to continuously prove its good intentions to the world, what with bristling terrorist camps in PoK and incessant crossing over of trained militants.