Politicising sports needs to stop
Politics encroached on the domain of sports and arts, affect the two areas that made the neighbours come closer.
The ICC Women’s World Cup does not usually attract the kind of attention and coverage that is given to the men’s version of the event.
This time, however, there has been an upsurge in worldwide interest for the game, but not for positive reasons.
As reported extensively, the recent skirmishes at the LoC had a direct impact on the gradually improving relations between Pakistan and India.
Talks on bilateral trade and visa regulation lost momentum and the general feeling of goodwill was overshadowed by the resurgence of deep-rooted mistrust between both nations.
The most tangible and symbolic outcome of the incident was India’s decision to send back Pakistani artists and sportspersons before the end of their respective assignments.
On the face of it, this was done to ‘avoid endangering the security of the individuals’.
However, no one can deny the fact that politics encroached on the domain of sports and arts, thus affecting two areas that boasted the most success in the attempts the neighbours made to come closer.
There is little doubt that had the ongoing World Cup been a bilateral series, the same procedure would have been followed for the women’s cricket team of Pakistan.
Even so, major changes took place following the protests by India’s right-wing political party Shiv Sena that threatened to dismantle properties and even cause bodily harm to visiting Pakistanis in the wake of the border tussle.
The venue for a number of matches was shifted to the far-flung area of Cuttack, Orissa from the thickly populated and central city Mumbai.
Notwithstanding this, the hotels accommodating the rest of the participating teams in the nearby city of Bhubaneswar refused to play host to the Pakistan team on ‘security grounds’. The Orissa Cricket Association was then forced to arrange separate accommodation for the team in the Barbati Stadium in Cuttack.
Politicisation of sport is an old practice – especially in the sub-continent – that needs to be done away with. No matter how unperturbed our women’s team seems, the whole mess would undoubtedly be detrimental to their peace of mind and consequently their performance would suffer.
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