Itís Just a Matter of Pride?
15 May, 2009
By Dr. Nauman Niaz
There is a fragile future of Pakistan to consider. Wracked by geo-political turmoil, threatened by terrorism, and lacking India’s wealth, Pakistan cricket has become a pariah, with BCCI manipulating and ICC shirking and tricking them without being the competent authority to take the decision which they not only authenticated but also hastily implemented.
A legal notice issued to International Cricket Council (ICC) by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), to some has come as an overt and covert intimidation. It seems, the PCB has tried standing up to BCCI’s manipulation, sending the message that they are now equally in a contest with them. To most, PCB is playing in a dead-pan, running against the bull-horns and their response is only emotional. Nonetheless the other side shows them hitting the ground, communicating emotional tenacity, determination and resolve.
ICC unlawfully took a unilateral decision and awarded Pakistan’s share of the World Cup 2011 matches to India. The series of events on behaviors disturbed characters commonly display that both ICC and the BCCI impair their ability to internalize pro-social values and also frequently serve as tactics to manipulate and impression-manage others-guilt-gripping and shaming, externalizing the blame, rationalization, minimization, and feigning innocence.
Considering the present geo-political situation and the internal upheaval, it is almost next to foolishness considering that World Cup 2011 matches could be staged in Pakistan, without scare and also plain stupidity to contemplate foreign teams agreeing to play in a country that witnessed Sri Lanka being ambushed, the bullets spreading all over. Security failure it was, still BCCI and the ICC fired off so quickly that they were hard to identify and separate, and some slick maneuvers could utilize several tactics at once, picking at Pakistan, completely wrong-footed.
ICC and the BCCI, working in advantageous environments concealed clearly obvious aggressive or exploitive intent while simultaneously putting Pakistan unconsciously on the defensive. However, Mr. Ijaz Butt is now engaged in deliberate, intense confrontation designed to challenge the legitimacy or validity, or the value of the decision taken by the ICC.
BCCI and the ICC, significantly after the ambush at Lahore where Sri Lanka barely survived fatality, labeled Pakistan a cricketing backwater. For a while now, Pakistan cricket has felt it is being discriminated against when it comes to issues of safety, and it is easy to see why they may feel that money speaks all languages but Urdu.
It's going to require a good deal of compassion, especially in the ICC and India's case, and courage, to welcome Pakistan back into the fold, but every effort must be made because cricket doesn't have enough good teams to be able to cast aside one of its major nations.
The ICC's dithering has succeeded in driving a rift between Pakistan and some of the other major cricket nations, especially India. This is not a conducive atmosphere for rational decision-making in the future, especially considering how well known the ICC is for its politicking and power broking. When the storm clouds gathered and decision about moving Pakistan’s share of Cricket World Cup 2011 matches to India gained momentum, it seemed, none stood behind Pakistan, the Lahore terrorist attack brazenly used as a tool. At this point, it appears as though the ICC is splitting along ethnic lines, as has been predicted many times before.
It sounds daft that Pakistan, even if the decision is overturned could still be a place to organize international matches by 2011, still their arguments over the World Cup hosting rights rage and the ICC looks to be on the verge of splintering. IDI had the powers and not the ICC and also even the competent authority could only recommend shifting the World Cup from Pakistan. Second, according to the MOU, Pakistan could only be inquired about their security plans eighteen months before the start of the tournament. In haste, the ICC allowed such manipulations to run and end in such acrimony is hard to understand. If there’s one thing it does well, it is placate vested interests. If they could find a way to appease BCCI on the ICL and Zimbabwe issues, then surely there was a route through the World Cup queries.
Pakistan’s rights of hosting the World Cup matches couldn’t and shouldn’t have been taken away-instead if there were security concerns and in case if they lasted up to 2010, they could have been asked to shift their matches, not to India but to a neutral venue such as Abu Dhabi or Dubai. By stripping Pakistan it means they would lose a huge financial chunk. They would be having some disgruntled business partners in the form of the television rights holder and sponsors. Even worse, Pakistan was considered a plaything to be pushed, prodded or pulled in any direction. That is one sure way to devalue the game. It is a major concern.
ICC’s decision could be viewed as hasty, bald-faced and uncivilized response to the security issues in Pakistan.
Heartening, the failure of PCB’s earlier foreign policies is now clear to everyone except its architects, and then they must entertain private doubts, from time to time, about a policy whose crowning achievement now is to file a legal notice against the ICC, seeing a paradigm shift to end a swaggering silence and a deafening status quo.
Before Mr. Ijaz Butt came in power, Pakistan’s most obvious mistake was to trust BCCI and play a role of a conduit; they now need to act independently, picking the right people to sincerely help developing cricket and asking ICC for their contractual rights. Anything else is an indulgence.
At first glance, the goals of BCCI with reference to its huge financial market, it being the attraction for majority of top-tier cricketers and also their insight to dominate the world game might appear to conflict. BCCI after its brainchild, the Indian Premier League became a story of an overnight success, it started to use statutory rights to control access and accumulate monopolistic powers.
And it also, stubbornly and quite brazenly, sidelined Pakistan, to regulate downstream activities, such as imposing exclusivity, territorial restraints and trying to isolate it in a tight corner. Inundated with success and drunk with power and unlimited opportunities, the BCCI, in the meantime, seemingly has forgotten to realise that directed at curtailing the powers and presence of other teams in the region, particularly Pakistan is fast touching the precipice of market clout which may prove harmful to subcontinent's cricket and its interests.
It isn't significantly different from the situation in Pakistan, rather the hugeness of India and weak political interconnections make it more susceptible. ICC’s Executive Board, while taking the decision, completely failed to take into account that the law and order situation in the entire sub-continent was fragile and unpredictable.
India, presently being termed as champion of cricket in Asia has had its share of terrorist activities. The regions with long-term terrorist activities today are Jammu & Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India (Naxalism) and Seven Sister States. In the past, the Punjab insurgency led to militant activities in the Indian state of Punjab as well as in Delhi. As of 2006, at least 232 of the country’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. Mumbai has been the most preferred, over the past few years a series of attacks including explosions in local trains in July 2006, to the more recent ones in November, 2008 (killing at least 172). On August 25th, 2003, two bomb explosions near the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar killed 50 while on July 11th, 2006, a series of seven blasts took toll of 209 people.
From Mumbai to Delhi and the three explosions on October 29th, 2005 killed more than 60 and injured at least 200. The Delhi Summit on Security took place on February 14th, 2007 with the foreign ministers of China, India and Russia meeting in Hyderabad House, Delhi to discuss terrorism, drug trafficking, reform of the United Nations and the security situations in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and North Korea. It was followed by 5 bombs exploding on September 13th, 2008.
Attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13th, 2001, the Ayodhya Crisis, Varanasi blasts, insurgency in North-East India, the volatility in Nagaland and Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and the devastation continues to South. Karnataka, the serial blasts in Bangalore on July 26th, 2008 and the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, and the Hyderabad bombings, further to Tamil Nadu etcetera hardly show India being a country without possibilities of a series of other such attacks.
Retrospectively, BCCI must know that unlike the West, it lives on a triggering device and events erupt to change the political, social and geographical dynamics. India, no matter how lucrative a marketplace isn't fully a safe place for cricket's unconditional prosperity. Throughout history, revolutions and political changes have brought the fall of one organisation or system only to replace it with another. "Round and round she goes, when she stops nobody knows!"
In the present India-Pakistan situation, restricting to cricket alone, BCCI's egocentricity has been viewed as the root cause of the game's suffering, though indirectly in Pakistan and we still continue to jump on this ages-old, broken bandwagon. We have been led to believe that BCCI's inflated ego must be undone, negated or at least brought down a peg or two, convincing them that their prosperity would last from within the subcontinent with Pakistan, India and Bangladesh being the other three wheels.
I genuinely believe that given Indian cricket's present economic growth my inclination to batter and blame BCCI's ego mentality is not only logically nonsensical, it is also irresponsible. They are ruling the roost and ready for complete domination, not in Asia but also contemplating to emerge as a major governing force in world cricket, effectively endeavoring to sabotage the ICC.
Secondly, I assert that it's not the ego that's the true cause of the way things are in Asia, but rather the soul or the higher self. This includes the current crises. Although this may be hard to believe, it's true. It's time that both the BCCI and the PCB should know that the higher self's primary motivations are to experience, and through a variety of challenging experiences, to grow; they would also need BCCSL and the BCB..
In fact, this is the time our collective higher selves actually engineer what's known as the illusion in order to accomplish some highly noble intentions on this Asian Block, otherwise Pakistan may well not but BCCI would end up in a real tight corner, completely isolated needing to learn through contrast and spirituality. By reconnecting within and viewing life from this higher-level perspective, you can achieve all these goals most quickly and easily.
Bangladesh, another co-host mustn’t forget the August 17th, 2005 catastrophe. Five hundred bomb explosions occurred at 300 locations in 63 out of the 54 districts. The bombs were exploded within a half hour period starting from 11.30 a.m.
On 17 August 2005, around 500 bomb explosions occurred at 300 locations in 63 out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh. The bombs were exploded within a half hour period starting from 11:30 am. A terrorist organization, Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) claimed responsibility for the bombings. The group, led by Shaykh Abdur Rahman and the elusive Siddiqur Rahman (also known as Bangla Bhai), is alleged to be affiliated with Al Qaeda.
In Sri Lanka on August 12th, 2005 their Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assasinated by an alleged LTTE sniper. On January 7th, 2006, a suspected LTTE fishing board loaded with explosives detonated and destroyed a Sri Lanka Navy vessel at the port of Trincomalee, killing thirteen sailors. The March 1st mine explosion and April 23rd attack on Sinahlese civilans in the village of Gomarankadawala in the Trincomalee district, an an attempt to kill Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the sinking of Sri Lanka Navy ship on May 11th, and the killing of award-winning author Nihal de Silva and seven tourists by a LTTE land mine in Wilpatty National Park made 2006 gory for Sri Lanka.
On June 15th the LTTE blew up a civilian bus killing 68, including ten children and three pregnant women. The same day, the LTTE bombed a bus carrying 140 people in Kebithigollewa in Northeastern Sri Lanka. Sixty-eight people died. On June 26th, 2006, the third highest ranking Sri Lanka Military officier Major General Parami Kulatunga was wounded in an attack by LTTE and died after reaching the hospital. A suicide bomber killed 103 sailors on October 16th. On February 7th, 2007 at Batticaloa, Rev. Selliah Parameswaran Kurukkal, the head Priest of the Santhiveli Pilleyar Kovil and a father of three, who blessed President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the President’s visit to Vakarai four days previously, was forcibly dragged out of his residence and shot dead by gunemen from the LTTE.
There were eight terrorist attacks in April and several others continuing well into May, July, August, September and November made Sri Lanka hostage to militancy. On January 1st, 2008, a former minister and a Member of Parliament beloning to UNP for Colombo District T. Maheswaran was shot by a gunman while attending the New Year prayers at Kotahena, Sivam Kovil around 10..35 local time (05:05 GMT) and later succumbed to his injuries at the Colombo General Hospital along with one Hindu pilgrim who was too attending to the prayers. On January 8th, a non-caibnet Minister of Nation Building and a Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, D. M. Dassanayake died of injuries sustained in a roadside bomb attack in Ja-Ela, twelve miles (19 km) north of Colombo along with one of his body guard. The attack injured ten others. LTTE blamed for this assassination.
Ironically, the sequence of terrorism in Sri Lanka runs into 2009, with the suicide air raid on Colombo on February 20th, the Kirimetiyagara Village Massacre on February 20th, and the Mahagodaya Massacre on April 12th should have been evidence enough for the ICC to refrain taking a radical decision against Pakistan. A legal notice to the ICC and the PCB ratcheting up the stakes in its confrontation further, sending a lette rto Michael Beloff, President of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, to refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) isn’t something emotional, it is all quite logical.
Writer is the Member of the Royal College of Physicians and Official Historian of Pakistan Cricket
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