MIRAMSHAH, March 30: Awash with light and heavy weapons, the tribal belt -— described by some critics as the most dangerous place in the world — proved on Wednesday that it is as cricket-crazy as the rest of Pakistan.
The North Waziristan region near the Afghan border — a target of repeated US drone attacks — ground to a halt like other cities and towns across the country for the Cricket World Cup semi-final between Pakistan and India.
Markets, schools and offices were closed in the region’s main town Miramshah and many made special arrangements to watch the much-hyped match on large screens.
Tribesmen who considered that the country’s honour was at stake were seen cleaning their weapons for firing in the air should Pakistan win, witnesses said.
“I am going to sacrifice this for the Pakistan team,” tribesman Hayatullah Jan said as he showed a sheep before the match began.
“India is our traditional rival, we should beat it on every front. In today’s match also I want to see them humbled by the Pakistan side,” said Shumal Khan.
Tribal elder Malik Amir Khan said he intended to invite the Pakistan team to Waziristan after they had won the World Cup in India.
“This will help them enjoy our hospitality and also understand that we are not terrorists, we are Muslims and victims of US drone attacks,” he said.
Cricket fan Shireen Wali said locals had set up a large screen in an open area but people were afraid to use it because of US drone attacks.
The US missile strikes target gatherings and often kill innocent civilians, he said.—AFP