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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Pakistan is still at its best 2 days after defeating India in cricket

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Ammar Barlas was ready to be disappointed. He is Pakistani, which – almost by default – makes him a cricket fan. And Pakistan was preparing to play with India, its hated but beloved rival and a team that it had not won in the world championship in this sport for almost 30 years.

Still, a fan supports his team, and Mr. Barlas, 35, made a special chicken and rice dish and invited his college mates to see the inevitable.

“The meeting of friends was meant for the enjoyment of the game, but we were also mentally prepared for defeat,” said Mr. Barlas. He added, “We were worried, but kept repeating the phrase, ‘First, you don’t need to panic,” referring to a phrase popularized by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was once a cricket star.

Pakistan prevented defeat. On Sunday night in Dubai, he unexpectedly beat India, and on Tuesday night, he switched to play with New Zealand and gave the country a much-needed boost that lasted even two days later.

With a weak economy, sharp political divisions between ruling and opposition political parties, militants raising their heads in parts of the country, and unstable relations with the United States and several European countries, Pakistan needs a moment to feel good.

“In a country where cricket is almost a religion and good news – sports or otherwise – has been hard to come by in the recent past, winning has been a much-needed occasion to celebrate,” an editorial in The Express Tribune said on Tuesday. …

The victory united the nation and enveloped it in a sense of national pride. Cricket ties the country. Perhaps this is the only legacy of British colonialism that is not controversial or contemptuous. Instead, cricket fuels passions and overcomes ethnic, linguistic and political divisions.

The victory over India marked the beginning of a celebration that lasted until Sunday night. The whole country was shocked by the live match that was broadcast in restaurants and cafes. Streets and shopping malls were mostly deserted from 19:00 to 23:30.

After the victory, people, young and old, poured into the streets, honking with horns, launching large bursts of firecrackers and invading the passages of Bhangra in several cities and towns of Punjabi. Many even resorted to shooting from the air (which is illegal, but nobody seemed to care about Sunday night). Pakistan’s green flag has been raised with pride.

Memes of victory immediately went viral on the country’s WhatsApp groups, and one video of the newlyweds went viral on Instagram. In it, the groom gets up as soon as the wedding hall receives the news of Pakistan’s victory, and begins to chant: “Long live Pakistan!” Other guests quickly join him.

On his Twitter account, Prime Minister Khan Khan, who visited Saudi Arabia over the weekend, said: posted a photo about myself, watching the match in a hotel room, surrounded by cabinet ministers, with the message: “The nation is proud of you all.”

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the interior minister, said he has ordered the removal of police barriers and roadblocks in Islamabad, the country’s capital, and parts of Punjab so that the public can celebrate. Police took preventive measures last week to stop a religious party’s protest march towards Islamabad.

On Monday, the nation’s headlines and photographs of the cricket team appeared on the front pages. Pakistan has “defeated” India, one British daily said. Jang, the country’s leading Urdu newspaper, called the victory “historic,” a view shared by other major Urdu newspapers.

Saba Usman, a private school teacher in Islamabad, said her fifth grade students were overjoyed the next morning. “The kids never stopped talking about the game and praised the Pakistani players,” she said. “Some of my students said they couldn’t sleep because of happiness.”

Pakistanis, who do not like cricket, were even delighted. “The victory was an occasion to dance and have fun with friends and family,” said Hamza Rao, a resident of Lahore. “Even those who don’t play sports like me got indirect pleasure.”

Mr. Rao said he called his sister and rushed to her house to celebrate the victory. “We ordered cheat meals,” he said, “without feeling guilty.”

However, the celebration came at a cost to some fans. Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir, a scenic Himalayan region claimed by both India and Pakistan, said students celebrating Pakistan’s victory were under investigation under counterterrorism law.

As Indian players played down frustration as something that happens in the sport, and images of the Indian captain graciously congratulating the winning Pakistani team turned into rounds as an expression of good sportsmanship, Indian fans took it differently.

Online insults were general, with the trolls channeling most of their anger at the only Muslim on the team. Some of the insults were so violent that many Indian cricket veterans had to support player Mohammed Shami.

For most fans of the Pakistani national cricket team, the riot continues. Mr. Barlas, a cricket fanatic who watched the game with his college friends, said a special prayer before the game. After that, he distributed sweets in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, he said, “My friends and I are still drunk with victory.”

Mujib Mashal made reporting.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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