Mr Khan and the 'phateechar’ logic behind his 'Africa' comment

Published: March 8, 2017
Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer turned politician, speaks during an interview at his residence in Islamabad November 16, 2011.  PHOTO: REUTERS

Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer turned politician, speaks during an interview at his residence in Islamabad November 16, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: By now it has become a near-certainty that if a PML-N leader says ‘the sky is up’, PTI chief Imran Khan will say it is down. And then he will threaten to stage a sit-in.

Imran’s most recent ‘counter-argument’, however, may be a bridge too far even for his supporters, as the erstwhile Pakistan cricket team captain made critical, and arguably racist comments, about the international players that participated in the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore.

In what seems to be footage from an internal party meeting, Imran brands the international players who came for the match ‘phateechar’ (shabby).

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“I don’t even know the name of any of these so-called foreign players…They just picked up players from wherever…some random players so-called foreign players…They just picked up players from wherever…some random players from Africa and called them foreign players,” Imran said, before adding that such players would have willingly come to play domestic cricket in Pakistan anyway for the money they were being paid.

In the same video, Imran explained his comment by saying that top talent did not come for the match, which was implied to constitute a failure for the organisers.

The PTI chief was lambasted on social media for his tone, especially the perceived racism in his reference to the ‘African’ players. Noted journalists slammed his tone, while a number of sports fans – including some that self-identified as PTI supporters – were quick to point out that Sammy and Samuels have won two T20 World Cups each, while Imran only had the 1992 ODI World Cup to show.

Others attacked his U-turns and nihilistic views ahead of the game. After initially criticising the government’s inability to hold the tournament in Pakistan, he pulled an about-face when Lahore was announced as the venue for the final.

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Terming the decision “madness”, he also said, “God forbid, if any blast takes place in Lahore, there will be no cricket in Pakistan in the next 10 years,” while speaking to a private news channel.

MQM’s Faisal Sabzwari agreed that, “Imran’s comments sounded racist,” while Minister of State for Information Marriyyum Aurangzeb said,  “The use of petty words were a reflection of Imran’s mentality,” and that, “If the final match of PSL was madness, then the nation will continue to respond to terrorism this way.”

 Which Africans do you speak of?

In Imran’s defence, Quetta’s potential headliner, English international Kevin Pietersen, and other known quantities such as New Zealander Nathan McCullum and Englishman Luke Wright did not show up, citing security fears. But there were at least two very well respected players who happen to be black in the victorious Peshawar Zalmi squad – West Indian internationals Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels – who had no qualms about playing in Lahore.

They also did not have too much trouble winning the hearts and minds of millions of Pakistani cricket fans with their post-match exuberance.

The irony of course is that all of the black players that participated from either side were West Indian. For those weak in geography, the West Indies are split between North and South America.

PSL final: Marriyum condemns Imran’s statement

Meanwhile, the two Africans who came to play – Zimbabwean Sean Ervine, South African Morné van Wyk – are both white. In fact Pietersen was also born and raised South African. He only played for England because of issues with local cricket bosses.

So in reality, the most notable player Pakistan was unable to convince to attend was an African.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • arshar
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:30PM

    a ‘phateechar’ article if we want to call it a news article.Recommend

  • tazia
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:30PM

    Yes what he said is totally wrong, but forget his comments and move on !Recommend

  • Ashfaq
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:42PM

    Worst thing is that IK wants Pakistan to fail so he can just blame nawaz sharif. Now even INDIAN newspapers are quoting IK’s anti Pakistan comments.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:47PM

    Politicians want to always remain in the limelight often making statements first and thinking later. If the media stops covering these politicians and the rubbish they talk, they will start talking sense. Just ignore them.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:47PM

    Imran Khan needs to understand ….that a smart man knows what to say but a wise man knows whether to say it or not to say it. Sadly Imran Khan is proving himself neither smart nor wise…..what a shame. Recommend

  • Citizen X
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:49PM

    5000 women murdered every year.. but that is not phateechar, thousands die everyday due to poor or health benefits.. but that is not phateechar, no proper education for poor.. but that is not phateechar, countless die due to terrorism and lack basic security…but that is not phateechar..corrupt politicians looting the nation and its people.. but that is not phateechar..basic amenities not provided to its citizens.. but that is not phateechar, judicial system at its worst with cases pending for ages and people kept in lockers for no reason.. but that is not phateechar…each citizen owes 150 K each.. but that is not phateechar… massive corruption in each govt organisation .. but that is not phateechar.. the IG is removed from sindh becuase he is trying to reform the police… but that is not phateechar.. police is totally politicised .. but that is not phateechar.. ayan ali leave this country by kicking her foot on judicairy .. but that is not phateechar.. list goes on and on and on.. you all are worried about this naive comment.. which was said on a spur of the moment.. get a life you all .. and something concrete and positive.. not mere statements.. that lead to nothing…. !!!!Recommend

  • kemosabe
    Mar 8, 2017 - 2:51PM

    Forgive him, it was the brain damage from that fall from the container doing the talking.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Mar 8, 2017 - 4:09PM

    Mr. Imran Khan shall become the PM of incredible Pakistan even without my vote. Recommend

  • hamza
    Mar 8, 2017 - 7:12PM

    this word patheechar is wrong to say in our language but in cricket terms it is not shocking as quoted by miandad. the players usually use this word but this point scoring and afraid politicians are raising it high just to hide panama scandal.cricketers do not consider the word PATHEECHER wrong cuz they use it in the daily lifeRecommend

  • Newton
    Mar 8, 2017 - 9:11PM

    With so many U turns and reckless comments by IMRAN how can we seriously consider him to be capable of leading the nation, hire me as your publicity guru I can get you to this top with of course God help And Data Gunj Bakash blessingsRecommend

  • Ali
    Mar 8, 2017 - 10:39PM

    Somehow I don’t trust someone who writes Waqas with a VRecommend

  • Kamran Ali
    Mar 9, 2017 - 6:10AM

    Pakistani media is an expert in making a mountain out of a molehill. The author seems to be oblivious to all the core issues which have halted the progress of the nation. Get a life, only Phateechers think that this is an issue!Recommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick
    Mar 11, 2017 - 2:00AM

    By calling an African an African, you don’t become a racist. Most African cricketers by the way are caucasion. Anti-IK people will always look for something to talk against Imran. By the way the replacement players were nothing better than being “Patheechar” Sethi wanted to show case his so-called foreign players.Recommend

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