It's very easy to say sports and politics don’t mix.
Try telling that to Umar Draz of Pakistan who faces 10 years in jail for having got so excited about Virat Kohli’s performance against Australia that he went and ran the Indian Tricolour up the flagpole at his home around 200 kilometres away from Lahore. What was he thinking?
Clearly little beyond cricket.
The neighbours went ballistic, were offended and Umar was dragged off to jail, where he is now under arrest.
One has to marvel at his ingenuity in getting himself the Indian flag. Where does one go shopping for something like that? To be fair, it was a bit stupid. If it was some Indian waving the Pakistani flag for Shahid Afridi in Jalandhar, we would have been hopping mad too.
But get over it, slap him on the wrist, chastise him, read him the riot act and let him go.
You cannot seriously lock the fellow up for a decade.
It is a bit of Keystone cops, really. The police raided his home and found the flag on the rooftop and has now levelled a charge of treason and anti-national activity against the cricket-mad fan. Now, they are looking into the possibility he might be an Indian spy.
Give us some credit. Surely, we would have smarter spooks than that.
He might just be a cricket looney who doesn’t see anything anti-national in showing his love for talent. There are enough of them out there and if it was a flag from another country in support of Cristiano Ronaldo or Novak Djokovic, I don’t think the Pakistani authorities would have flown off the handle. It must be so damn embarrassing now that the story has leaked.
If they were not so knee-jerk in their reactions, they would have downplayed the whole incident and laughed the rage out of it.
The story would have died on the vine.
But now it is Pakistan that is propelling the incident and building it into a major indictment. The poor guy is going to be produced before a judge and might even face trial and if you get one of those uptight fellows on the bench he will throw the book at Umar. Perhaps India could get him off the hook. If Virat Kohli was to request Nawaz Sharif to say, "Okay, let the fellow go, he is just a fan who meant no harm," it's possible the Pakistani prime minister might see it as something on which to to put a positive spin.
Taken even further, the BCCI could agree to honour the MoU to play Pakistan in a bilateral series if it lets Umar go home with a kick in the behind.
As a gesture of goodwill, the foreign secretaries could agree to meet (a tryst that is pretty much forgotten) if this latest link in India-Pakistan cricket-lomacy is given a happy ending.
The thing I still cannot figure out is where he went and got a flag.
It's not as though they are selling the Indian Flag in grocery stores around the corner.
First Published On : Jan 29, 2016 10:15 IST