“Cricketing nations for peace-building”April 7th, 2016
As the early March day in 2009 approached, the Sri Lankan team left a five-star hotel for the Gaddafi Stadium to play the third day of the second Test match against Pakistan’s cricket team in Lahore.
The sun shone with all its brilliance as the avid cricket fans in Lahore geared up to visit the stadium to watch their favorite cricketers. But, as Pakistanis tuned in to news channels, ugly footage of a terror attack shook them to the core. Enemies of peace executed a malicious plan by attacking the bus that was carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.
Hopes were dashed and the nation was drenched in pain over the fateful incident. Pakistan made headlines around the world with the heart-wrenching and despicable news of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
All of our spirits were crushed in disappointment over the tragic turn of events.
Following the attack, the cricketing world together made a decision not to let Pakistan host any international cricket match, due to security concerns.
But the year 2016 dawned upon the Pakistani nation with a pleasant surprise! It reinforced the reality that Pakistan, as a nation, will never surrender to terrorism and most importantly, enemies of peace.
The sheer brilliance of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) came as a reminder that everything is possible if you have staunch resolve. When they called for the idea of holding a spectacular cricket league that Pakistanis can rightly own, it was ‘pie in the sky’. The successful conduct of PSL proved the naysayers and pessimists wrong.
While the cricket grounds in Pakistan have long been quiet, missing the roars of crowd, PSL now allows the cricket-crazy fans of Pakistan to huddle together and watch the spectacular matches of the league on large screens installed in the stadiums.
Najam Sethi, the league Chairman, was given the daunting task of making PSL possible by crowning the league with international cricket stars. And he did it! Pakistan Super League 2016 had 29 foreign cricketers, including the likes of English player Kevin Peterson, West Indian Player Chris Gayle, New Zealand player Grant Elliot, Australian player Shane Watson, Bangladeshi player Tamim Iqbal, Dutch cricketer Ryan ten Doeschate, Afghan player Muhammad Nabi, and even the Sri Lankan players who shone in PSL including Kumar Sangakkara and Ajantha Mendis.
Although PSL took place in UAE this year, Mr. Najam Sethi has vowed to bring the league back to Pakistan next year. I won’t go in further details about the immense success of Pakistan Super League that managed to make headlines in sports bulletins around the world. What inaugurated with dancing tunes of Jamaican artist Sean Paul and ended with inundating fireworks that soaked the Dubai International Stadium, it provided Pakistanis a reason to celebrate in the midst of a grueling fight against terrorism. The fight against militants led by Pakistan’s armed forces has been lauded by the world that is witness to a sharp decline in terror attacks in the country. Najam Sethi said, ‘I promise you the way we have done the hard work, hopefully we will bring this league in Pakistan too,”. Henceforth, I on behalf of solicitous Pakistanis, urge the Commonwealth cricketing nations which include Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and Srilanka to lay hope in Pakistan and its security agencies and unite for a historical ‘peace-building’ initiative through sports. Let’s make it happen! Allow us the privilege to host the shining international cricket stars by bringing PSL to Pakistan. Let’s together defeat the enemies of peace by uniting on a sports platform provided by Pakistan Super League. The cricket fans terms the overwhelming success of PSL a victory for Pakistan. How about doing it the other way round? Next year, let’s make it a victory for entire cricketing fraternity. Remember, Pakistan successfully hosted the Zimbabwe cricket team in 2015 and the tour was a source of joy for Pakistan cricket fans. Not only this, but international cricket can be revived in Pakistan if Commonwealth XI side come to play against the Pakistan cricket team. “We are in touch with Giles Clarke, President of the England and Wales Cricket Board, because we feel if we can have the Commonwealth side plays in Pakistan than we can also have some matches of the second edition of PSL in Pakistan as well,” Sethi said. The world would be a far better place to live in if we all set our priorities that result in mutual benefit and happiness!
I hail from Pakistan, Karachi, and am studying at Karachi University Business School. I have also worked as a free-lance writer for a local company, Brainees.
The global challenges related to quality education, poverty, illiteracy, extremism and exploitation of resources is a concern for me. I want to mobilize mentors to enlighten the youth of Pakistan about the value of critical thinking. The future of Pakistani children can be changed through empathy and volunteerism in underprivileged areas.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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Inaugaration of PSL (Picture Courtesy: Official twitter account of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)