Pakistan's win over India in the Champions Trophy final changes nothing as sport is not above politics
The thing is nothing has changed with Pakistan's win over India. The LoC is still a hot spot. Hundreds of camps for terrorists on the border continue to be operational and Kulbhushan Jadhav is still scheduled to seek mercy come August or be hanged.
Losing to Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy is a fact. We cannot escape it. But it is mutually exclusive from the six series demand by the Pakistan Cricket Board to play India between 2015 and 2023.The so-called memorandum was not cleared by the Indian government and is therefore void. The PCB will certainly have another card to play since it stands to lose over $200 million if India does not come good in this window for four tourneys on Pakistan soil. And that card is the triumphant whoop of having beaten us at The Oval.
We have to resist any possibility of opening negotiations or falling for the trap as Pakistan will now say we are afraid to play them. We are not. The score in international tournaments is still 13 to 2 so Pakistan has a long way to go and contrary to the illusion that sport is above politics, it is not. Not in this case, anyway which is why even the rivalry on the field has an inimical edge which resounds in the attitude of the millions of fans on both sides of the border.
Cricket has always been a psychological weapon in the 70 years of attrition and we now have to be careful that this defeat in one game, albeit an important one, does not put us on the backfoot or open any doors.
The thing is nothing has changed. The LoC is still a hot spot. Hundreds of camps for terrorists on the border continue to be operational and Kulbhushan Jadhav is still scheduled to seek mercy come August or be hanged. We are still unsure of his physical and mental condition as no consular access has been given.
At no stage has Islamabad assured India that it will dismantle its funding and support of terror especially in Kashmir and flushing out these elements still costs us lives of soldiers so let’s not rise to the bait.
The fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials intended to meet with their PCB counterparts on the sidelines of the Champions Trophy at The Oval for an informal discussion on bilateral series was totally uncalled for and has to be avoided in the future. To take one step in that direction is to make a mockery of our indignation over the atrocities committed on Head Constable Prem Sagar of 200th Battalion of the BSF and Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh of the Army's 22 Sikh Regiment whose bodies were mutilated after they were killed near Kranti, a violation of the Geneva Convention.
We cannot forget them or the call by their families who had gone on record begging the Indian government not to play Pakistan. No one heeded that call but we must go past that Sunday and stick to our guns.
We lost a game, not our value system and we must be ready to withstand the provocation when it comes because the PCB is on a high and that ‘darte hain humse’ (they're afraid of us) angle will be raised.
Walk away from it, do not even entertain that needling.
Even as tensions between India and Pakistan continue to dominate headlines, cricketers from this side of the border won plaudits for their heartwarming display of camaraderie during the Champions Trophy final on Sunday.
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