COMING back from the Friday prayers, I had a quick lunch before switching on the television set to watch what was scheduled to be the first cricket match of the New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan. But, as it turned out, the match remained just that; ‘scheduled’. It never took place. It was disappointing, disheartening and depressing to hear that the Black Caps had decided to call off the tour at the last minute citing security reasons without bothering to share any information with the Pakistan Cricket Board, the security establishment or with the government.

One wonders what exactly their fear was after they had been in the country for a few days and had held practice sessions amid perfect security arrangements and protocols. In the first place, the tour had been given the green signal after the security personnel from New Zealand had officially expressed their approval of the arrangements that had been made by Pakistan for the tourists. Indeed, there was not a word from any player or official since the team’s arrival in the country, and all the talk from the camp was only about cricket. And yet, they received some information that made them do what they did, and, indeed, to do it the way they did it.

It is certain that the Kiwis lost a good chance of having some solid workup before the upcoming World Cup, for they could have surely benefitted by playing against a formidable Pakistan team, but surely they had other things keeping them busy.

The Pakistanis, especially the cricket-lovers among us who were so anxious to see the Kiwis playing here after 18 years, were left shocked. Having said that, we, as a nation, should bear in mind that we may get some more such shocks because of the troubled times the world is going through. We need to face the situation with courage and smile. We need to realise that there are many countries that look at Pakistan with a smiling face, but with evil designs.

What is important at this stage is for us to stand firm and united. Instead of blaming each other, we need to stand up and condemn what needs to be condemned. Beyond party lines, and beyond the political, social and ethnic divides, we need to behave like one united nation.

Akber D. Vazir
Karachi

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2021

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