Pak-NZ cricket abandoned; for Pakistan the long night is not over yet

Pak-NZ cricket abandoned; for Pakistan the long night is not over yet


Writing here about Pakistan-US and Afghanistan only a day before, I had asked “do we realise that the long night of trials and tribulations is not yet over for Pakistan. In fact, another one may have just begun”. I was referring to the remarks about Pakistan made by Secretary Blinken before the US Congress. The news break yesterday regarding the abandonment of Pakistan-New Zealand cricket series was heartbreaking for millions of cricket crazy Pakistanis. Every Pakistani, young or old, man or woman, rich or poor is so strongly and emotionally wedded to this sport that it is difficult to imagine what other incident would be as heartbreaking. And by the same token, Pakistan’s enemy/enemies could not have chosen a better means of hitting Pakistan below the belt given that the situation in the region had disabled their physical structure capable of harming Pakistan. So when you can’t hit me directly, you will try to hurt me in every other way you can. You will look at my softer spots that are targetable. And if you have powerful allies winking if not collaborating, the act becomes easier and more rewarding to perform. Thus it is that our soft belly has been targeted. Far fetched? No! Did we not face years of cricket isolation only because India didn’t want us in. We lost a whole generation of budding cricketers in the process. Our national team was deprived of international exposure as was our home crowd deprived of watching international cricket on our home grounds. And I am not counting the huge financial losses that Pakistan cricket suffered for nearly ten years. India not only refused to play Pakistan in Pakistan but it also refused to play Pakistan in India. It even refused to play Pakistan on neutral grounds. What a country? What a nation? But it is money that makes the mare go. And Indian cricket offers so much money that the so called gentlemen in this game of gentlemen get bowled over or bought over. Thus it was that India had its way at ICC and Pakistan was left high and dry for ten years before it started rebuilding international cricket at home. But events to our west have left India and its current ally of allies licking their wounds. It would sieze every opportunity to hit Pakistan and get the desired nod or wink from across the seven seas. The abrupt abandonment of the series that was to begin yesterday was certainly decided in Wellington but initiated in another capital. In these days of uncertainty in the region it is easy to put the fear of terror in anybody’s mind. I would whisper it in your ears and you would whisper it to the New Zealanders and you have hit the bull’s eye. When the whisper is from the global “know all” you don’t want to take chances. Prime Minister Imran Khan did the right thing to call the gentle NZ Prime Minister but one can understand her decision. And let’s be prepared for more of such disappointments. It is the price that Pakistan continues to pay for where it is geographically. It can neither change its neighbour on the east nor on the west. Testing times continue. For Pakistan, Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan does not mean the end of the long night. The long night is yet to turn into a clear dawn. The lament is that not many Pakistanis are even aware of it, and there are even fewer in the political arena who know and worry about it.