MIRAMSHAH, Nov 28: The Pakistani Taliban have said the media should rein in its praise of Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who retired this month after a glittering 24-year career.

Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, said Pakistanis should get behind their embattled captain Misbah-ul-Haq, despite any failings he might have as a player.

He made the remarks during an attack on the media’s coverage of the TTP’s slain leader Hakeemullah Mehsud, killed by a US drone on Nov 1.

Newspapers and TV screens have been plastered with tributes to Tendulkar, who bowed out on Nov 16 as the world’s leading run-scorer in both Test and one-day cricket.

In a video message posted online at the weekend, Shahid, flanked by two masked men with AK-47s, used cricket as an analogy for the way media covered Mehsud’s death. “There is an Indian cricket player called Tendulkar. He has been exceedingly praised by Pakistani media and also praised by a lot of Pakistanis,” he said.

“Now someone should tell Pakistani media and other Pakistanis that no matter how good Tendulkar is, they should not praise him, it is against Pakistani nationalism and against loyalty to the country.”

“No matter that Misbah-ul-Haq is a substandard and low-level player, Pakistani media should praise him because he is a Pakistani,” the he said.

After Mehsud was killed, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Munawar Hassan sparked controversy by calling him a “martyr” and raising doubts about the status of soldiers killed fighting Taliban. Shahid defended his views, saying those who praised soldiers “fighting for America, secularism, democracy and British-made laws” were like those who lauded Tendulkar.—AFP

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