Pakistan is destabilized, riddled with terrorist elements, and in possession of nukes, and not even the Dems can agree on how those problems should be handled. But perhaps there’s hope in … cricket? Here’s the Times of India on a new U.S.-hosted cricket tournament that begins in October:
Seven Pakistani players – Inzamam ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir and Saqlain Mushtaq – are said to have signed up for the new league, which will be held twice a year. In fact, the proposal APL seems to be designed to rescue Pakistani cricketers from international isolation in the face of Indian clout.
This may sound like small potatoes but after losing host status for the 2011 World Cup, Pakistan is looking for any sort of enfranchisement when it comes to the beloved sport of cricket.
The Obama Administration has levied sanctions against Abdul Haq (not to be confused with this Abdul Haq), who attempted to launch terrorist attacks during the Beijing Games:
The Treasury Department’s target was Abdul Haq, head of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party. The action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States belonging to him must be frozen. Americans also are barred from doing business with Haq, who is Chinese.
With that off the docket, Obama can now focus on forging a non-proliferation treaty with Lehman Brothers.
Because of grave security concerns, Pakistan will host no World Cup cricket matches in 2011:
International Cricket Council president David Morgan said: “It is a regrettable decision but our priority is to deliver a safe, secure, successful event.”
Pakistan were due to co-host the event with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Given recent history and the country’s current straits, this seems like a wise and obvious decision. On another level, when India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka come off looking like comparative havens of calm, you have serious security concerns.
Recently, the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team by Pakistani militants was followed up by an attack on a police academy, again by Pakistani militants. All of it happened in the city of Lahore. A Pakistani security official points out the significance:
“Lahore is the only city in Pakistan which has remained relatively peaceful since the 9/11 attacks. For the last few years, it has hosted cultural festivals, concerts and cricket matches with aplomb, while the rest of Pakistan has been up in flames. It has been Pakistan’s saving grace, and whoever wants to destabilise the country or the government, would go after Lahore.”
It’s the Pakistani outpost of the Taliban that’s doing just that. Given the rogue elements in place and the prevailing instability, even Russia’s worried about the ability to secure Pakistan’s nukes.
Recall the controversy over the decision to move a major cricket tournament out of India because of security concerns? The tournament would’ve coincided with Indian elections, and thus India couldn’t spare the necessary security forces. Now comes this:
Those who were blaming the Indian Government for allowing IPL travel to offshore might be breaking into cold sweat now, following the surfacing of US intelligence report that IPL could have experienced the ultimate mayhem if it was not exported outside Indian borders in time. The terrorists’ secret blue print has been cracked; thanks to Stratfor – one of the leading providers of strategic intelligence on global security affairs. It said Indian Premier League was on the hit list of Islamic terror groups and about to suffer a 26/11 style terror strike.
India has come under much criticism, especially from within, for allowing the IPL to pick up stakes. However, given the compromised security that would’ve been in place, these warnings make it clear that the correct decision was made.
Off-topic: Does anyone else find it a little strange that the CIA has a kids’ page?
Has any sport been ravaged by terrorism as much as cricket has? As the sport of the former British colonies, cricket has a presence in some volatile parts of the world, and that’s led to a host of security concerns. First, of course, came the sickening attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan, and now comes word that a forthcoming tournament in India must be relocated:
Organizers of the Indian Premier League, a brash and lucrative new tournament scheduled to begin in less than three weeks, announced that they had been compelled to move the game out of India. With the tournament schedule overlapping with national elections, the government could not guarantee adequate security for the games, they said.
The government maintains that, given the timing of the elections, security forces simply cannot be spared. Needless to say, India’s dueling parties are using the issue as a cudgel against each other. That’s typical enough, but here’s the real casualty:
It is difficult to overstate the love of cricket in this part of the world, and until recently, the cricket pitch had been widely seen as the rare safe zone from terrorism attacks.
Given world events, people today need the consoling distraction of sport, but in many corners of the globe they’re being deprived of it.
Given that visiting athletes aren’t particularly safe in Pakistan these days, this news comes as no surprise:
The Philippines’ tennis authorities have asked Davis Cup organizers to move the July regional playoff against Pakistan from Lahore to Manila due to fears of its players being attacked … Three of the five Filipino players, including Cecil Mamiit, are dual U.S.-Philippine citizens who Villanueva feared may be targeted because of their American passports.
The Sri Lankan cricket team that was attacked in Lahore was actually a replacement club–one that stepped into the breach after another team refused to travel to Pakistan because of safety concerns. That is, fear abounded even before terrorists victimized the Sri Lankan team. Now, it’s certainly going to be difficult for Pakistan to host any manner of international sporting event. That includes the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which Pakistan is in danger of losing. Not good news for a national economy that’s in a freefall …