Cricket in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is a lot more than just a game. Not only has it brought fame and fortune to many players, at times it has even provided them with enough clout and influence to declare themselves as candidates for political positions, or lent considerable weight to a political party or a cause of their choosing.

In this piece, we’ll briefly look at the phenomenon in Pakistan.

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Last year former Pakistan cricket captain and stylish batsman, Aamir Sohail, announced that he was joining the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

This is the first time that the moderate right-wing party has attracted the attention of a known cricketer.

But Sohail is not the first Pakistani cricketer who has decided to take a plunge into politics.

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Aamer Sohail was an attacking left-handed opening batsman who formed one of best opening pairs in the 1990s with Saeed Anwar. He represented Pakistan from 1992 till 2000 and today enjoys a respectable reputation of being a cricket analyst on TV. He defines his politics to be ‘moderate and down-to-earth.’

Another former cricket captain, Imran Khan, is the most well known name in this respect, now heading his own centre-right party, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Though Khan was never before part of any other party, in the 1980s he was said to be close to the ‘Islamist’ Pakistani military dictator, Ziaul Haq. But the relationship was not political. And anyway, throughout his cricketing career Imran’s lifestyle was wholly modern and secular.

At his peak not only was Imran one of the quickest bowlers, he was also considered to be one of the best all-rounders in the world. In an 18-year-career, the Oxford educated Khan played in a number of Tests and ODIs for the country. He was also one of Pakistan’s most successful captains and it was under his leadership that the team won the 1992 cricket World Cup. Khan retired from the game in 1992, aged 40.
At his peak not only was Imran one of the quickest bowlers, he was also considered to be one of the best all-rounders in the world. In an 18-year-career, the Oxford educated Khan played in a number of Tests and ODIs for the country. He was also one of Pakistan’s most successful captains and it was under his leadership that the team won the 1992 cricket World Cup. Khan retired from the game in 1992, aged 40.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that Imran began alluding to political issues.

For example, in 1988-89 when an anti-India insurgency erupted in Kashmir, Imran (who was captain of the Pakistan team at the time), said that the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan should be decided on the cricket field!

In another statement at the time he felt that Pakistan and India should co-exist just as the United States and Canada do: Neighbours with separate and sovereign entities but with strong economic, political and cultural ties.

A 1988 centrefold from the now defunct popular Pakistan English monthly ‘The Cricketer Pakistan’ displaying Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Waqar Yunus and Aquib Javed. The line-up is still considered to be the most fearsome fast bowling attack the Pakistan team has ever had. Wasim, Waqar and Aquib were all Khan protégés.
A 1988 centrefold from the now defunct popular Pakistan English monthly ‘The Cricketer Pakistan’ displaying Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed. The line-up is still considered to be the most fearsome fast bowling attack the Pakistan team has ever had. Wasim, Waqar and Aaqib were all Khan protégés.

When Imran decided to retire from the game in 1987, it was left to Zia to coax him back into the game that he then continued to play till 1992.

Khan maintained that cricket teams in Pakistan and the cricket board were infected with all kinds of intrigues and that a Pakistani captain had to run the show like a firm and shrewd politician.

He was invited to join the PML-N by Nawaz in 1992, but he politely declined saying he wanted to concentrate on building a cancer hospital in Lahore.

After completing the hospital, he put in a brief stint as a TV commentator during Pakistan’s 1993 tour of the West Indies.

This was also the time that he experienced a ‘spiritual awakening’ and decided to enter politics.

On the advice of former ISI chief and one of late Ziaul Haq’s closest aides, Hamid Gul, Khan formed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) to challenge the country’s two leading parties, the left-liberal Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the moderate right-wing PML-N, accusing both of being corrupt.

He had a falling out with Gul when he married a British national, Jemima Goldsmith, and his party lost badly in the 1997 election.

Till his recent rise as a potential ‘third force’, Khan’s politics have continued to relay contradictory signals.

He’s put up a staunch anti-West/anti-American front and was largely mentored by the chief of the fundamentalist Jamat-i-Islami (JI), late Qazi Hussain Ahmed; but at the same time, Khan has demonstrated that his party has overwhelmingly liberal views on various social issues.

Khan holding a press conference, 2012.
Khan holding a press conference, 2012.

Pop star, Shahzad Roy, performing at a PTI rally.
Pop star, Shahzad Roy, performing at a PTI rally.

He has also been accused by his opponents for having a ‘soft corner’ for the Taliban, an allegation Khan refutes, suggesting that he just wants the military and the government to hold ‘meaningful talks’ with the Islamist militants before unleashing a full scale military operation against the menacing insurgents and terrorists.

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The first high profile incident of a well known former cricketer joining politics came in the shape of famous Pakistani cricket captain of the 1950s, Abdul Hafeez Kardar.

Kardar joined the populist left-liberal party, the PPP, in 1967 and became very close to its chairman, Z A. Bhutto.

He was also made the President of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) by Bhutto when he came into power in 1972.

Abdul Haeez Kardar waves to the crowd at the Oval cricket ground in London, after he led a young and inexperienced Pakistan cricket team to defeat England and square the 1952 series 1-1. An autocratic personality but respected by his team, Kardar was Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain before his record was surpassed by Mushtaq Muhammad.
Abdul Haeez Kardar waves to the crowd at the Oval cricket ground in London, after he led a young and inexperienced Pakistan cricket team to defeat England and square the 1952 series 1-1. An autocratic personality but respected by his team, Kardar was Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain before his record was surpassed by Mushtaq Muhammad.

It was under Kardar’s reign as chief of the PCB (1972-77), that the Pakistan team was transformed into a truly world class outfit.

After Kardar had retired from the game and captaincy in 1958, the Pakistan cricket team in the 1960s lost almost 80 per cent of the Tests that they played in that decade.

As chief of the board, Kardar encouraged the inclusion of young, attacking players in the side such as Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Wasim Raja.

He also convinced the Bhutto regime to make the banks and companies that it had nationalised and the Pakistan airlines (PIA), to give regular jobs to cricketers.

Kardar’s masterstroke came when he selected Mushtaq Muhammad in 1976 to lead the side.

An attacking captain, Mushtaq, who was also a great supporter of the PPP and Bhutto, went on to lead Pakistan to eight Test victories (between 1976 and 1979) against New Zealand, India and two of the top sides in the world at the time, Australia and the West Indies.

Dashing Pakistani opening batsman, Sadiq Muhammad and skipper Mushtaq Muhammad, celebrate Pakistan’s first Test victory on Australian soil with a glass of beer in 1976. Pakistan was one down in the series when they turned the tables on the Australians in the third Test in Sydney and squared the series 1-1. Seen in the background is a shirtless Imran Khan who took 12 wickets in the match. Khan would go on to take more than 300 Test wickets and surpass Mushtaq’s captaincy record as captain.
Dashing Pakistani opening batsman, Sadiq Muhammad and skipper Mushtaq Muhammad, celebrate Pakistan’s first Test victory on Australian soil with a glass of beer in 1976. Pakistan was one down in the series when they turned the tables on the Australians in the third Test in Sydney and squared the series 1-1. Seen in the background is a shirtless Imran Khan who took 12 wickets in the match. Khan would go on to take more than 300 Test wickets and surpass Mushtaq’s captaincy record as a skipper later on.

But things were not always smooth between Kardar and Mushtaq. Kardar refused and in fact, threatened to remove Mushtaq from captaincy when the latter demanded a pay raise for his players.

The issue threatened to boil over when Kardar decided to reinstate Intikhab Alam as skipper and drop Mushtaq.

Prime Minister Bhutto himself had to intervene and took Mushtaq’s side, leaving Kardar fuming and handing in his resignation.

Kardar quit politics when the Bhutto regime was toppled in a military coup in July 1977.

Kardar with celebrated journalist and a friend of Z A. Bhutto, late Khalid Hasan.
Kardar with celebrated journalist and a friend of Z A. Bhutto, late Khalid Hasan.

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Another popular cricketer to have had sympathies for the PPP was the great Javed Miandad, who did not join the party, but remained to be its supporter throughout his playing career (1976-96).

In an interview he gave to a local private TV channel in 2004, he named Z A. Bhutto as his favourite political personality.

Javed Miandad is considered to be one of the finest batsmen produced by Pakistan. He represented Pakistan for 20 years (1976-96).
Javed Miandad is considered to be one of the finest batsmen produced by Pakistan. He represented Pakistan for 20 years (1976-96).

But Miandad’s case gets even more interesting if one considers how he was ‘owned’ by the MQM in the late 1980s for being from Karachi and a Mohajir.

The MQM, that was an entirely Mohajir-centric party at the time, presented Miandad as a heroic figure of Karachi cricket.

Pakistan cricket (till about the early 1990s) was largely divided between Lahore (in the Punjab) and Karachi (the capital of Sindh).

Karachi cricketers, sports journalists and associations continued to accuse the cricket board of preferring players from Lahore.

The cold war between the two cities in this respect took an ugly turn when Miandad who was made captain in 1980 (at the age of 23), faced a rebellion from a group of 10 players in 1981.

The rebellion was led by stylish batsman (and Imran’s cousin), Majid Khan, a Lahorite, and most of the rebels were from Lahore and/or the Punjab.

The Karachi press accused them of being racist and anti-Karachi/Mohajir, even though some of the rebels were also from Karachi, such as Mohsin Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Sikandar Bakht.

In 1982, an agreement was reached between Miandad and the board when it was decided that Imran Khan (who was also part of the rebellion) would replace Javed as captain. Javed told the board he would refuse to play under Majid or Zaheer Abbas.

Though the MQM continued to put up Miandad as Mohajir nationalism’s poster boy, he never publicly declared his support for the MQM.

Javed Miandad breaks the stumps with his bat during a Test match in India in 1979. The Pakistan team adopted the Australian tactic of ‘sledging’ under Mushtaq’s captaincy in the late 1970s, and Miandad and Sarfraz Nawaz became the team’s leading sledgers.
Javed Miandad breaks the stumps with his bat during a Test match in India in 1979. The Pakistan team adopted the Australian tactic of ‘sledging’ under Mushtaq’s captaincy in the late 1970s, and Miandad and Sarfraz Nawaz became the team’s leading sledgers.

Javed Miandad and Imran Khan share a joke during a function in Karachi in 2009. Miandad was the vice-captain of the team during most of Khan’s captaincy, and both formed one of the most formidable think-tanks in the dressing room. However, though Javed and Imran continued to demonstrate great admiration for one another, there were also many incidents of tension and tussle between the two.
Javed Miandad and Imran Khan share a joke during a function in Karachi in 2009. Miandad was the vice-captain of the team during most of Khan’s captaincy, and both formed one of the most formidable think-tanks in the dressing room. However, though Javed and Imran continued to demonstrate great admiration for one another, there were also many incidents of tension and tussle between the two.

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Eccentric fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz and former captain Mushtaq Muhammad were both known to be staunch supporters of the PPP in the 1970s and 1980s, but out of the two only Sarfraz joined the party (in 1987).

Sarfraz Nawaz.
Sarfraz Nawaz.

He contested a Punjab Assembly seat on a PPP ticket in the 1988 elections and was made a sports advisor by the then prime minister and chairman of the PPP, Benazir Bhutto.

During his cricketing career (1969-83), Sarfraz first partnered Asif Masood in the country’s première quick bowling attack, and from 1975 till 1983, he and Imran Khan became one of the most effective fast bowling pairs in the country.

But Sarfraz was also a highly volatile character. A brawler by nature, he made sure to break every curfew set by his captains, slipping out to visit nightclubs, drink and pick up women and return in the wee hours of the morning, even when a Test game was on.

Along with Javed Miandad, he was also one of the first Pakistani cricketers to indulge in the tactic of on-field sledging, where a fielder or the bowler would taunt and abuse a batsman to disturb his concentration.

In 1977 when Z A. Bhutto was toppled by General Ziaul Haq, Nawaz pulled out of most of the Tests that the country played between November 1977 and July 1978 after faking an injury.

During a first-class side game against the visiting England team in November 1977 (in Rawalpindi), the TV cameras and microphone accidentally caught Nawaz fielding on the long-on boundary and talking to a friend on the other side of the rope.

The microphone picked up his conversation in which he was abusing Zia. The camera at once cut to another part of the ground.

He was incensed when Mushtaq Muhammad was removed as captain in 1979 and replaced by Asif Iqbal whom Sarfraz accused of stabbing Mushtaq in the back.

Asif refused to pick Nawaz for the 1979 tour of India, saying that he would not be able to handle the brawling fast bowler.

Nawaz responded by claiming that it was him who refused to play under Asif.

Sarfraz shares a drink with former Pakistan cricket team manager, journalist, author and diplomat, late Omar Qureshi (seated) in Karachi in 1978.
Sarfraz shares a drink with former Pakistan cricket team manager, journalist, author and diplomat, late Omar Qureshi (seated) in Karachi in 1978.

Before joining the PPP, Nawaz had already won a provincial assembly seat in the Punjab during the ‘party-less election’ of 1985 held under Ziaul Haq. Though the PPP had boycotted that election, it supported Nawaz.

He remained with the PPP across the 1990s. It was also in the 1990s when he turned against his former bowling partner and best friend, Imran Khan.

In 1994 when Imran began to vehemently criticise the second Benazir Bhutto government, Sarfraz accused Imran of moral hypocrisy, saying that Imran was the wrong person to talk about political or social morals because all his life he had been a womaniser!

By the early 2000s, Sarfraz had become disillusioned with the PPP and quit politics.

During this period he publically accused players like India’s Sunil Gavaskar and Asif Iqbal for being the pioneers of match-fixing!

The two men, along with Imran and even Javed Miandad, have gone on to suggest that Nawaz has lost his mind.

In 2010 after praising the MQM for being truly secular with genuine middle-class leadership, he returned to the political arena by joining that party.

Although a proud Punjabi himself, he at once offered his help to the MQM to ‘expose the corruption and hypocrisy of Punjab’s politicians’, especially Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan.

Sarfraz with MQM leaders, Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.
Sarfraz with MQM leaders, Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

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Wasim Akram with Waqar Younis, in 1992. The two fast bowlers between themselves shared more than a thousand wickets for Pakistan.
Wasim Akram with Waqar Younis, in 1992. The two fast bowlers between themselves shared more than a thousand wickets for Pakistan.

Legendary fast bowler, Wasim Akram, too has had a political past. In a 1987 interview given to ‘The Cricketer,’ he proudly talked about taking part in pro-PPP rallies as a teenager that were held in Lahore against the hanging of Z A. Bhutto by the Zia dictatorship (1979).

Though he never joined the party, Akram continued to be a PPP supporter in the late 1980s, in spite of his mentor, Imran Khan, being staunchly anti-PPP.

Interestingly, Akram who still idealises Imran has always politely refused to join Khan’s party.

Today, he is largely apolitical and claims to have no interest in political matters at all.

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Perhaps the most fascinating case is of former Pakistan Test cricketer, Aftab Gul, who was a member of PPP’s youth wing and then accused of being a terrorist by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in 1980.

A fiery left-wing student leader at the Punjab University in the late 1960s, Gul was also a highly gifted opening batsman.

He made his Test debut in 1969, but then joined the youth clusters organised by PPP’s socialist ideologue, Shaikh Ahmed Rashid just before the 1970 election.

Aftab Gul playing against England in 1971.
Aftab Gul playing against England in 1971.

A huge Z A. Bhutto fan, Gul lost interest in cricket after Pakistan’s tour of England in 1974. Instead of carrying on his cricketing career, he concentrated on being a lawyer.

In 1977 when the Bhutto regime fell to a reactionary military coup led by Ziaul Haq, Gul offered legal support to a number of young PPP and PSF workers that were arrested by the military regime.

Then in 1980 the regime claimed to have found Russian-made SAM missiles during a raid on Gul’s home in Lahore. Gul was not at home at the time and went into hiding.

The regime accused Gul of being a member of Murtaza Bhutto’s militant left-wing Al-Zulfikar Organisation (AZO) that was being supported by the Soviet-backed communist regime in Kabul.

According to the police, Gul was supposed to hand over the missiles to AZO terrorists who then planned to use them to shoot down Zia’s plane.

Gul escaped to London. He returned to the country in 1988 after Zia’s demise but quit politics. Today, he a successful lawyer.

A wiser and older Gul outside his office in Lahore, 2010.
A wiser and older Gul outside his office in Lahore, 2010.

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Tear-away fast bowler and controversial figure, Shoaib Akhtar, was also a PPP supporter in his teens, and some of his close associates believe that Akhtar may still join this party if he ever decides to enter politics.

Shoaib Akhtar.
Shoaib Akhtar.

Akhtar came from a family of PPP supporters in Rawalpindi. He rose from being a knife-carrying hooligan on the streets of Pindi’s lower-middle and working-class area to become arguably the fastest bowler in the history of cricket.

Eccentric, hot-headed and rebellious, Akhtar also had a great liking for partying.

He was also staunchly opposed to how the conservative Islamic evangelical movement, the Tableeghi Jamat (TJ), had infiltrated the team in the early 2000s.

He accused the TJ of using Pakistani players as poster boys for its recruitment campaigns and insisted that religion and sports should not mix.

Insisting that his faith was his personal matter, he claimed that TJ’s presence in the team was hampering the players’ performance.

Akhtar loved his share of partying.
Akhtar loved his share of partying.

Between 2002 and 2006, TJ managed to recruit some leading Pakistani players, such as Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Mohammad Yousuf. Shahid Afridi was TJ’s last big catch (in 2005), before its influence in the team began to recede – especially after Pakistan’s disastrous performance in the 2007 World Cup.

Inzimanul Haq, Muhammad Yusuf, Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi: The Tableeghi Jamat’s poster boys?
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi: The Tableeghi Jamat’s poster boys?

Though the TJ is a non-political and largely peaceful Islamic evangelical movement, over the years it has been criticised for turning religion into a bundle of exhibitionistic rituals.

Some critics have also noticed how from the 1980s onwards, the TJ has aggressively tried to recruit personalities from the country’s military, bureaucracy, show-biz circles and the cricket team.

Players like Shoaib Akhtar and former cricketers such as Pervez Mir (these days a TV anchor), believe that joining the TJ distracted the players and instead of playing cricket (for which they were being paid for), they were more interested in recruiting more players for the organisation.

Critics also questioned why the Pakistan team, most of whose players had become influenced by the teachings of the Jamat, got tangled in so many corruption scandals.

Interestingly, though Akhtar was admonished for criticising the TJ’s presence in the team and for disturbing the team’s new faithful environment with his ‘immoral acts,’ he was one of the very few Pakistani players whose name never appeared in any match or spot-fixing scandal.

Former England captain and famous commentator, late Tony Grieg (right), talking to former Pakistan player, Saeed Ahmed at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1998. Saeed Ahmed represented Pakistan from 1958 till 1973 and accumulated over 2,500 runs. A stylish one-down batsman, Ahmed was also a ‘party animal’ with a great fondness for whiskey and women. He was dropped from the Pakistan side when in 1973, just before the third Test against Australia in Sydney; Ahmed faked an injury and sat outside after seeing a hard, fast, and green-top wicket. He continued to play cricket in England but then vanished from the radar. He reappeared in 1998, as a recruiting man for the Tableeghi Jamat. He had become a ‘born again Muslim’ sometime in the 1980s, joined the TJ, and in the late 1990s set about to recruit famous cricketers for the organisation. His first catches were Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed.
Former England captain and famous commentator, late Tony Grieg (right), talking to former Pakistan player, Saeed Ahmed at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1998. Saeed Ahmed represented Pakistan from 1958 till 1973 and accumulated over 2,500 runs. A stylish one-down batsman, Ahmed was also a ‘party animal’ with a great fondness for whiskey and women. He was dropped from the Pakistan side when in 1973, just before the third Test against Australia in Sydney; Ahmed faked an injury and sat outside after seeing a hard, fast, and green-top wicket. He continued to play cricket in England but then vanished from the radar. He reappeared in 1998, as a recruiting man for the Tableeghi Jamat. He had become a ‘born again Muslim’ sometime in the 1980s, joined the TJ, and in the late 1990s set about to recruit famous cricketers for the organisation. His first catches were Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed. -Photo by AP

At one point Waqar Younis too dabbled with TJ in the early 2000s, but soon dropped out.

Though TJ’s influence in cricket has continued to recede in the recent years, its biggest catch at the moment remains to be the dashing Shahid Afridi who in a 2005 interview thanked the TJ for saving him from the kind of ‘immoral lifestyle’ he was leading.

Former captain and wicket-keeper, Rashid Latif, was a member of MQM’s student-wing, the APMSO, in the 1980s and today is an active member of the MQM. Another wicket-keeper, Moin Khan, is also said to be close to MQM.

Rashid Latif, former Pakistan wicketkeeper and a relentless crusader against corruption in cricket.
Rashid Latif, former Pakistan wicketkeeper and a relentless crusader against corruption in cricket.

Political parties now attractive to political-minded cricketers are the PML-N (just as the PPP was in the 1970s and ‘80s), and the MQM.

Surprisingly though, very few cricketers have volunteered to join Imran’s PTI.

 


Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (103)

Atif
January 11, 2013 2:21 pm
An Indian Quoting a 'Moulana' and that is under NFP post. that is very surprising indeed....
sq
January 11, 2013 7:17 pm
how the heck do you manage to get libatious pics of our celebs? :)
observer
January 11, 2013 3:18 am
He is rude, arrogant, rich, handsome, and hurt by the hands of those that he wanted to be like. How can you expect him to be relaxed.
Z
January 11, 2013 6:34 pm
I have yet to see one of NFP's articles that does not mention one of the BHUTTOS or ZIA.
Rahul
January 11, 2013 2:32 pm
Do u mean to say in pakistan majority is NOT educated and mostly LOWER class and hence its justified to be fundamentalist ?
haris
January 11, 2013 10:59 am
Being a Fundamentalism is not bad. Every country and every society has Fundamentalist. Don't you have in your country, Mr.India? I have been living in the Western Europe for years, and I have never heard a debate of Secularism, Modernism or Fundamentalism among people. There are no clashes of mind because everyone knows the correct definition of such -isms. In fact, people here respect each others views and beliefs. But yes, they do abject "Extremism" which is virus for every society.
Akbar
January 11, 2013 8:01 am
Nice compilation but a few absurd points. a) TJ is not a political party or an organisation, and it does not "recruit" anyone.Theres no membership for it, its just a voluntary work which anyone anywhere can do without any formalities. Theres no recruitment. b) SAkhtar never said TJ was "using Pakistani players as poster boys for its recruitment". I am a die hard SAkhtar fan, and I have never heard/read him say that. Yes, he did say religion should not mix with sports, but he did say something like "such work (done separately) is good". He writes in his memoir: "I firmly believe in namaz-it is every Muslim's ornament. One should wear it with pride and with a pure mind. However, you cannot ignore the other duties that Allah has ordained for you. A cricketer's primary duty is to play cricket. If you feel that cricket is less important, leave it-go out into the world and preach. I'm sure you will be of greater use there. (pg 239, Controversially Yours)"
Pramod
January 11, 2013 1:56 pm
read not any kind riots in last 10 years,
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 1:58 pm
Ans to your question: By Whom?= Is a good muslim who represents the muslim nation, allowed by his religion to indulge in drinking? Where?=(publically or privately). They are role models arnt they?
haris
January 11, 2013 10:49 am
"...anyway, throughout his cricketing career Imran’s lifestyle was wholly modern and secular." Hey NFP, again I don't understand Your definition of "Secularism". What is it in your books?
pakistani
January 11, 2013 5:40 pm
Pak or not this is all going to end time , when a army with black flags will march to israeal and there will be no one who can stop them ....plan was to devide the muslims in so many groups so they can even combine as one country let alone Khalfat ..... british did not came here to get money they came with one goal to devide muslims ... thats why Pak will be divided into parts by isaraeal and india so Pak necular weapon can be taken away ... if india looks have peace and harmoney its because its hidden and they are the no:1 friend of ISRAEAL, hence the call centers are there to keep them financially good as reward ....but at the end as Muhammad(PBUH) said a army with black flag from Khursan (Afghantan,Pak, tajkstan and some area around)will march to ISARAEAL and no one be able to stop them ...they will march over india NO DEAUT
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 2:02 pm
I Do not Have a problem, at all. I want an honest opinion is drinking alcohol good or bad? If Quaid/Generals/Cricketers/Movie Stars are drinking then it is OK, but if a common man drinks then it is bad....why the hypocrisy?
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 2:04 pm
I am not their mother, but what do I tell my kids? These people are role models for the society. I have no problem if you tell your kids to drink, do drugs, womanize etc. National figures are property of the nation.
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 2:04 pm
Is Private consumption OK then?
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 2:11 pm
You run for the President Sir. At least one HONEST reply. :)
shujaa
January 11, 2013 2:15 pm
That's what secularism is all about, i suppose.
Almanar
January 10, 2013 8:49 pm
So your point was that all the cricketers were bad boys and then later they repented and became good boys. When I started reading the article I thought it was about which cricketer joined politics and which party. Sounds like all you wanted was to slander.
Shakeel N
January 11, 2013 8:25 am
Nice article NFP!!! I think Waseem Akram has sympathies for Imran Khan and PTI. There is a video in which he asks his fan and public to support PTI. Any idea?
Indian
January 11, 2013 9:21 am
why most modern Pakistanis become most fundamentalists over time?
Akbar
January 11, 2013 8:35 am
FIRE WORKSSS!!!
Al Tair
January 11, 2013 10:34 am
"I'm going to take a shot at PTI veild in an article about a broader thing. Ok, finished, hmmm lets see, its still hinting towards how bad PTI is. Wait let me finish it with a line at end to make it clear. There it is. Done. BB would be so happy with me now."
Imran
January 11, 2013 9:26 am
Public consumption of alcohol was not a crime before Zia came in 1979. The photos are from before that time.
Talk4real
January 11, 2013 9:27 am
Immi, you did it again.....look too sexy in shorts ;)
Mahmood
January 11, 2013 12:16 pm
Mr. NFP, you are totally unaware of religious feelings!
Tariq K Sami
January 11, 2013 1:32 am
I wish them the very best in life. Perhaps it may be more gentlemanly to say that Wasim lives in Mumbai with a famous Indian Beauty Queen. Remember our common culture we are not allowed to name names especially when a woman is involved.
Muhammad Farhan Malik
January 11, 2013 8:16 am
Wasim Akram did have a video where he asked people to attend the Imran Khans Jalsa on 25th December in Karachi!
Akbar
January 11, 2013 8:06 am
Your answer is an obvious no. But drinking or partying, though unethical, is a private matter of an invidual, and you are not the players' mother to tell them why is it unethical to drink
Bilal
January 11, 2013 8:04 am
Answer to your question depends on whether you have a problem with the fact that the Quaid drank alcohol as well :)
Tariq K Sami
January 11, 2013 1:53 am
Imran needs to smile more often. He looks so stern. I know his heart is in the right place but he needs to soften his style. Even as a Captain we have seen how strict he was rarely smiling and no high-fives and no hugging with team members. No sajda even after a century. Standing alone while the rest of the team is celebrating. Once Iqbal Qasim ran over and reflexly hugged him while he stood with his arms folded. Even President Zia extended his open palm in Punjabi style (sut-panja) while he sat at the other end of the sofa with a thin smile (deliberately ignoring the panja). Abdul Qadir Hassan of the daily Jang wrote a piece on Imran's arrogance not realising that Imran is deeply pious and private person and not given to acts of extravagance and cozy up to the President of the country. Its time the people of Pakistan know and understand why Imran Khan is our last hope.
Srini
January 11, 2013 6:52 am
I agree, This might sound like "typical" Indian bashing pakistani values but it is true that there is so much tolerence in basic Indianness. You can just be as religeous as you want but do not intrude into others' faith.. Watch Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012 , it is just one example how everyone is so religeous but nicely mingle with others. Of course there are exceptions as always do.
Vatsyayan
January 11, 2013 6:12 am
Well the answer to this is that Amla,still has the qulaities of INdianess/ INdian Muslim in him. HIs grandfather was from Gujrat, Kathiawad
Rafi
January 11, 2013 6:03 am
They can be his voters.
Rafi
January 11, 2013 6:02 am
Not one of your gems NFP.
Bilal
January 10, 2013 5:46 pm
very sketchy article ... i think the writer dont have clarity of thought and seems to be confused ... the main body of the article seems to be biased and lacks credibility... it seems like the writer was trying hard to prove cricketer as politicians,.... how a 13 years child can be supporter of a political party?? as it was written that wasim Akram used to be part of pro PPP rallies in 1979 (he was born on 3rd June 1966 so in 1979 he was 13 years old)....at the end it seems that the writer has some score to settle with Tableeghies... he drifted from his topic and was describing cricketers as Tableeghis instead of politicians...
Cyrus Howell
January 10, 2013 11:33 pm
Cricketers have the most important characteristic needed for a first run at public office - "name recognition". Pele' could have been president of Brazil if the politicos wanted him elected.
Shahid Latif
January 10, 2013 6:00 pm
tHIS IS DRAWING A FAR FETCHED CONCLUSION.
HNY2013
January 11, 2013 5:43 am
Surprisingly though, very few cricketers have volunteered to join Imran’s PTI. Wonder why?
Cyrus Howell
January 10, 2013 11:38 pm
"It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done; and it is a far far greater rest I go to than I have ever known." A Tale of Two Cities
Cyrus Howell
January 10, 2013 11:40 pm
" [The Romans have said] Glory is fleeting. Obscurity is forever." Napoleon Bonaparte
Cyrus Howell
January 10, 2013 11:46 pm
"The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton" Lord Wellington
KKRoberts
January 11, 2013 11:59 am
Try to have a bottle of beer or 2 pegs of whisky.If you don't like it , then it is a sin for you otherwise it is full of fun.Try it and tell others your opinion.
Javed
January 10, 2013 8:27 pm
@Karachi Wala Yes, religion is a personal matter. Let us look at an example. South African cricketer Hashim Amla is a devout Muslim whose beard can compete with Yousuf and Inzi and win handsomely. Similar to Yousuf and Inzi, Amla’s batting average is over 50 for both Tests and ODIs. Now the interesting part: During the Test series against England 2012 in which he scored a triple century, he refrained from fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan for the first time: "Because I'm travelling away from home I don't have to fast," he said. "So I haven't been fasting. But I will make it up when I get home." He has also successfully requested that alcohol-promoting logos not be shown on his merchandise and playing gear. Without doubt he is one of South Africa’s most respected players and has a huge fan base who accept his religious convictions. Now let us look at Yousuf. At the tail end of his career these days, he has wasted playing opportunities for much needed batting practice, had contracts and playing offers cancelled, rescinded etc because he mixes his religious beliefs with his job requirements. Result: today he has a meat selling business in partnership with who else but Inzi.
Indian
January 11, 2013 1:02 pm
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Man Who Knew The Future Of Pakistan Before Its Creation Maulana Azad, was a key Muslim supporter of Congress and “United India” who later on became the Minister of Education of India. Here is an excellent interview with an Urdu magazine in 1946 on the state of Indian Islam on several dimensions, obviously this was a year before the creation of Pakistan and the independence of India. He was a polymath and his interview is shocking in its prescience and capturing the situation so well. He gives a very good synopsis of the opposition of the “moderate” religious opposition to Pakistan at the time and was its most vocal and articulate opponent. He felt that right from its inception, Pakistan will face some very serious problems.Below is the summary of what he had predicted. 1. The incompetent political leadership will pave the way for military dictatorship as it has happened in many Muslim countries. 2. The heavy burden of foreign debt. 3. Absence of friendly relationship with neighbors and the possibility of armed conflict. 4. Internal unrest and regional conflicts. 5. The loot of national wealth by the new rich and industrialists of Pakistan. 6. The apprehension of class war as a result of exploitation by the new rich. 7. The dissatisfaction and alienation of the youth from religion and the collapse of the theory of Pakistan. 8. The conspiracies of the international powers to control Pakistan. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad giving speech at Delhi Jama Masjid worth listening and also read the interview Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gave to journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3Q7p3_fZCKw
Waseem
January 11, 2013 11:48 am
PPP left liberal? Liberals do not mix religion with politics like the PPP did. Left liberal do not sit in govt with extremist right.
Jawwad
January 10, 2013 9:56 pm
So I stopped commenting.
Ali S
January 10, 2013 10:03 pm
Viewing a cricket team as a political organization is just as counter-productive as viewing it like a religious organization
Almanar
January 11, 2013 11:41 am
Which eye did it open for you?
Pramod
January 11, 2013 1:55 pm
The mass murderer which you are talking has put the Gujrar as no 1 state in development and not a single and smallest of communal riots. Interestingly this time he has won 9 out of 12 Muslims majority area in Gujrat. Every thing heard might not be true or completely true.
Javed
January 10, 2013 8:41 pm
@Farid...good point. I guess we all need to look at ourselves in the mirror, stop reading articles on cricket and go back to our game of kabaddi and guli danda. What say you?
Observer
January 11, 2013 11:53 am
I read it all but I can concluded this in a short what a writer tried to tell us here, cricketers who indulged in politics,alcohol,drugs and womanising brought success to Pakistan
Observer
January 11, 2013 11:56 am
Ask same question to educated upper class Gujarati for electing mass murderer as a chief minister of gujarat.
USMAN
January 10, 2013 9:26 pm
AN EYE OPENING ARTICLE..........THANKS SIR..
Karachi Wala
January 10, 2013 9:29 pm
Precisely! That is why I said "exhibitionism of one’s faith while actively playing international cricket should be completely banned in Pakistan." How Hashim Amla lives his life and practices his faith is between him, his God and South Africa. When I say exhibitionism, I mean showing off how close you are to Allah by leading prayers on cricketing ground, making sure the photograph has been taken and appears in next day paper. Openly or secretly backing those who follow your path and discriminating against those who do not because they are not good Muslims. This is especially true for BAMs (Born Again Muslims). Imran, in his playing days like any other Pakistan youth, was my favorite cricketer. I had much praise for his cancer hospital but not sure when he got into politics. Since he has become Born again he also has become like Inzi and co. Among many other things (like close to JI and soft corner for Taliban) I was very much disappointed when during his rally in Karachi he offered Maghrib prayer on stage. I would have respected him had he gone behind stage performed prayers and continue with his rally. Imran may have had right intentions but he chose the wrong path. By the way I have no problem him turning to religion. Again it is between him and his God but please do not show your piousness in public.
Dr Khan
January 10, 2013 4:28 pm
May Allah accept your prayers.
Zayed Zaheer (@AllZeeZ)
January 10, 2013 9:32 pm
Nadeem, you have done it mate, you are such a jigar, what an article man, mind blowing, dil khush kur ditta, kya baat hai, criticisms aside, the research and effort that may have gone into this article need be appreciated, Zabardast.
farid
January 10, 2013 4:40 pm
Cricket is a game of English lords and dukes. What a poor, third world country like Pakistan has got to do with this game. Alas TJ cricketer should have realized that they were playing an English game" The game of non believers" What a hypocrisy.
abbastoronto
January 10, 2013 5:13 pm
As England impoverishes herself, she has moved on to Football (i.e. soccer). And the venerable Cricket resembles more and more the fast paced Baseball, the game of the plebs.
Arshad Afridi (@Arshad_Afridi)
January 10, 2013 4:57 pm
I have seen Wahab Riaz tweeting in the support of Imran Khan!
daughterofpakistan
January 11, 2013 4:51 pm
NFP this is yet another accolade to your love of PPP and misplaced loyalty to BB, in the guise of a larger theme yet another attempt to malign PTI and Imran Khan. I think your desperation to prove IK a bad political leader.
Rahul
January 10, 2013 5:01 pm
Hats off to u guys, u actually took effort to alter my comment to make it mean completly different, man u guys are truly extra ordinary !!
abbastoronto
January 10, 2013 5:10 pm
I remember seeing a Janet Munro film in Lahore in the 1960s where the buxom cries out in her role - "I want to do something good before I die". Pity she herself died at 38. After a life of play and amusement a cricketer may want to think of the same. [6:32] What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?
Ali
January 11, 2013 2:54 am
I agree with the article as far as influence of tableeghi jamaat is concerned and support Shoaib Akhtar's stance on this. What i cannot understand is why are you so OBSESSED with left-wing, right-wing etc. Your comments about Imran suggest that he is either a playboy or right-wing extremist supported by Zia, Hamid Gul and is soft on Talibans. Your comments about cricketers not supporting Imran and whole list of cricketers supporting your favorite left wing PPP were also amusing. Many leading cricketers like Rameez, Wasim, Waqar have publicly supported Imran. Mark my words, just wait for neutral government to take over before elections and you will see how many cricketers support the right wing playboy Imran Khan.
Cyrus Howell
January 11, 2013 12:00 am
Known in Logic as "mistaken casual relation", like a mullah who is adept at creating new facts previously unknown to us. "He jumped to a conclusion at the first spark of evidence." Peter Finley Dunne
Cyrus Howell
January 11, 2013 12:04 am
Not sure one has to become a crook, hypocrite and a cheater first but it definitely does help.
Cyrus Howell
January 10, 2013 11:54 pm
With all the violence increasing in Pakistan an alcohol logo is a non issue.
HNY2013
January 10, 2013 11:53 pm
Guys stop liking or disliking my question .....i had asked a question and am not fetching popularity score. I will reframe my question: Is it ethical for players (who are ambassadors of the country) to flaunt the values the country was founded on. All players rise from the soil and then go about flouting the norms/laws and then public turns a blind eye. If all sins are allowed for them and are pardonable then why not for common man? Please do not like or dislike ...let me know your views.
Karachi Wala
January 10, 2013 4:12 pm
@ Javed, "My prayers are with the players. May God save them". Love it. Mine too!!!
Karachi Wala
January 10, 2013 4:51 pm
@Farid, there is no hypocrisy. TJ cricketers are determined to "Convert Cricket" into Mullayyiat.
peddarowdy
January 11, 2013 12:58 pm
How is drinking unethical? I drink, I party.. How is what I am doing unethical?
HNY2013
January 10, 2013 5:55 pm
So is alcohol (Beer/Wishkey etc) allowed for cricket players of Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
py2013
January 11, 2013 7:47 am
Let me answer with another question: what do you mean by 'allowed'? By whom? Where?
Waqar
January 10, 2013 6:52 pm
Jansher....you took the words right out of my mouth! Well said!
Aqil Siddiqi
January 10, 2013 6:32 pm
Because, they know PTI, will not be going any where. It's not necessary to be a great cricketer and also be a good politician. Imran Khan in compare to others do cares about Pakistan, but what he fails to realize is, in order to go any where in Pakistani Politics, you have to become a crook, a hypocrite and a cheater first.
Dr Khan
January 10, 2013 2:59 pm
Inzimam hsa been made the new batting coach of pakistan cricket team. Soon we will see junaid khan, naser jamshaid, mohammad irfan etc with long beards focusing more on tableegh instead of what they are being paid for.
Aqil Siddiqi
January 10, 2013 6:25 pm
I fully endorse your views. It's mostly our PCB fault to let some of the prominent cricketers to influence others(I am sure you guys know, who were such cricketers). .
Aqil Siddiqi
January 10, 2013 6:23 pm
Farid, who cares cricket being an English Lords game. Did they ever won a world cup. But all theteams from Sub Continent won. Sport need no boundries nor religion. It's my firm belief, that sport, politics and religion should not be mixed. Many fine cricketers gone waywards because of lack of concentration on job at hand(Playing Cricket).
Javed
January 10, 2013 3:06 pm
"Surprisingly though, very few cricketers have volunteered to join Imran’s PTI".....interesting comment by NFP. I wonder why.....do the cricketers know something we don't know?
Javed
January 10, 2013 3:12 pm
I won't be surprised if Inzi brings along Yousuf Youhana aka Mohd Yousuf as his assistant coach. My prayers are with the players. May God save them .
Javed
January 10, 2013 3:17 pm
NFP is missing the point here. Every cricketer has to be a politician or be patronized by a political party for the sake of their careers. The way PCB conducts its business is similar and nothing short of being a political party itself.
farid
January 11, 2013 7:55 am
Pakistanis should concentrate on what is happening in their country rather than watching 5 days cricket matches.For Pakistanis cricket has become an opium and they have lost insight in to major issues around them.
observer
January 10, 2013 3:26 pm
Interesting piece.
Hasan
January 10, 2013 3:41 pm
Brilliant article. Thoroughly researched. Being an avid cricket fan, it was a treat to read your article NFP. Most importantly, it gives an unbiased account of the political affiliations and ambitions of our cricket players, past and present. Thanks for that. :-)
Jansher
January 10, 2013 3:42 pm
"Interestingly, though Akhtar was admonished for criticising the TJ’s presence in the team and for disturbing the team’s new faithful environment with his ‘immoral acts,’ he was one of the very few Pakistani players whose name never appeared in any match or spot-fixing scandal." This is fine but lets not be biased here. The people who were involved in corruption are not the ones who got involved in TJ. It would serve you well if you become a little less prejudiced when it comes to religion, and state facts as they are!
raw is war
January 10, 2013 3:49 pm
excellent article.
Karachi Wala
January 10, 2013 3:53 pm
Religion is a personal matter and each individual be a cricketer, a singer or an ordinary citizen should be free to choose and practice his/her choice of faith. However, after analyzing the results of cricketing grounds having turned into recruiting grounds for TJ, exhibitionism of one's faith while actively playing international cricket should be completely banned in Pakistan
peddarowdy
January 11, 2013 12:56 pm
For a country where not a single Democratically elected Government has completed one full term, Pakistanis are pretty Political and there is a Two Party system in place in any constituency. Very strange.
Rahul
January 10, 2013 4:08 pm
Rumor is Wasim Akram leaves with Sushmita in Mumbai, India's first famous Beauty Queen. One thing is sure from all this cricketers in Pakistan are very good.
Imran
January 11, 2013 8:02 pm
So Amla is great because his ancestors came from India? Wah bhai wah. Hashim Amla is not the only Muslim having Indian roots. Let me tell you some more well known Muslims of direct Indian origin. Gen Zia-ul-Haq: born in Jallandher. Gen Musharraf: born in Delhi. Half of Karachi : born in UP. Do you think these people have the great qualities of Indianness, whatever that is?
Shahid
January 11, 2013 10:45 pm
Tell your kids that as long as they dont harm anyone else take away someones right and dont indulge in corruption, they are role models. No harm in drinking as long as you are not publicly drunk.
Shahid
January 11, 2013 10:58 pm
Wahab Riaz is a corrupt indiviual, involved in spot fixing in England fiasco.
Capt C M Khan
January 11, 2013 11:05 pm
Pkaistan is a Country of Cross Bat sweeps...no one plays STRAIGHT here...excellent article...Exciting pictures Mr Pracacha.
Usman Khan
January 12, 2013 12:48 am
"Surprisingly though, very few cricketers have volunteered to join Imran’s PTI" Not surprising at all considering if they do join the PTI, they will be subject to the worst kind of victimisation and character assassination by the status quo parties. Income tax cases will be conjured out of thin air, and all Govt. departments will victimise them. That is how politics works in Pakistan. No need to act innocent Mr. NFP.
farid
January 12, 2013 3:24 am
I agree. Pakistan will be the champion of the world.
Naveed
January 12, 2013 7:26 am
or Imran
Human Thinking
January 12, 2013 7:56 am
i gues next would be the cricketers who joined films or that hockey players except qasim who not joined anything. NFP you have repeated most of the cricketers' stories like Sarfaraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Shoib, Aftab gul etc. which you alreay done extensively in CRAZy DIAMANDS or ALSO PAKISTAN serieses. Come on get some novelty yaar.
Zaheer Jafri
January 12, 2013 8:00 am
Thanks Mr Nadeem F.Piracha..Your articles take me back to the Bhutto days when Pakistan was a wonderful peaceful secular state..we could enjoy till late at night very much in contrast to what it is now when everyone is frightenned to remain out after sunset...
Imran
January 12, 2013 8:59 am
Thats correct Rahul. And while that doesn't justify fundamentalism, its definitely a root cause for fundamentalism.
Imran
January 12, 2013 9:16 am
Private consumption is just that...PRIVATE i.e. nobody else's business. I dont know why you keep banging on about this issue but clearly you have never been to Pakistan and have some weird pre-conceived notions about alcohol in the country which will be in for a rude shock if you happen to visit here.I suggest you do so.
XL
January 12, 2013 9:31 am
Looks like a deluded person living in a make believe world, how did you get so high, even I want that.
vvd
January 12, 2013 11:54 am
Must be smoking something potent to have such daydreams.
vvd
January 12, 2013 11:58 am
The greatest leader after Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
Tajammal
January 12, 2013 1:40 pm
Bhutto's days wonderful and peaceful?
Observer
January 12, 2013 7:53 pm
For your information, let me tell you that Amla is an active tablighi Jamati and that has not affected his game, he is a shining example of good Muslim.after all he is Gujarati Muslim from Surat where I came from.
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