March 23, 2011: Match Mubarak, Pakistan. Thank You, Bangladesh.

Posted on March 23, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Society, Sports
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Adil Najam

Pakistan Day Mubarak, Pakistan. World Cup Mubarak, cricket lovers (the ‘real’ World Cup really started today with the first knockout stage match, between Pakistan and the West Indies). And, hopefully, very soon, Match Mubarak, Pakistan.

The game is still being played as I write this. But Pakistan is off to a great game and hopefully on its way to a comfortable victory. A fitting way to celebrate Pakistan Day. And a fitting gift on Pakistan Day to all Pakistanis.

A sincere thank you from all Pakistanis to an awesome Bangladeshi crowd. Their support and sportsmanship was astounding. Indeed, there has to be tension and bitter memories for some. And those need to be honored and addressed. But to see the support and love for the Pakistan team around the ground today was a good feeling. Maybe even a better feeling than Pakistan doing so well on the field.

30 responses to “March 23, 2011: Match Mubarak, Pakistan. Thank You, Bangladesh.”

  1. ASAD says:

    Very nice read:

    A Pakistani in Dhaka on March 23

    By Saleha Riaz

    http://tribune.com.pk/author/56/saleha-riaz
    *Published: March 24, 2011

    The writer holds a BA in history from the London School of Economics and is Sub-editor at The Express Tribune

    The most exhilarating part of being in Dhaka, to watch Pakistan’s quarter-final
    against the West Indies wasn’t the fact that it was an extremely easy win that has sent us
    sailing to the semis or the fact that me, my brother and his friend, with
    our painted faces and Pakistani jerseys, came on TV so many times that our
    phones wouldn’t stop buzzing with messages from excited relatives and
    friends back home, or even the fact that our decisive victory was on
    Pakistan Day — it was the Bangladesh crowd’s relentless support for us. The
    shirtless man with the Bangladeshi flag painted on his forehead,** ‘Boom
    Boom
    Afridi’*
    on his chest and the Pakistan flag on his jiggling tummy said it all.*

    Whether it was the group running around the stands with the Pakistani flag
    or the boys making fun of how Chanderpaul stood when he batted — every few
    minutes I would forget I wasn’t in Pakistan, that we weren’t allowed to
    co-host the World Cup, that our inability to protect our own citizens, let
    alone foreign teams, had deprived us of watching matches at home for years,
    and I would start talking in Urdu to the man selling souvenirs. Only to have
    him look at me all confused, making me realise I needed to switch to
    English.

    And the extreme support wasn’t just because the West Indians had crippled
    the Bangladeshi team in their group match and then complained that the
    Bangla supporters had stoned their bus, it was also because, before they had
    an international level cricket team, their support had been completely for
    Pakistan. And now we were number two on their list of favourites, for the
    simple reason that they were once a part of us.

    During the match, the Mexican wave would just not end, and after doing it
    for the fifth time the (only other) Pakistani next to me said — “I’ve had
    enough, I’m not getting up for the next one. I don’t understand how these
    supporters are so enthusiastic about a team that’s not theirs.” But the
    Bagladeshis definitely didn’t see it that way.

    One would think that given how unfair West Pakistan was to East Pakistan,
    they would still harbour negative feelings towards us, but not even a tenth
    of **the India-Pakistan
    rivalry*
    * was evident in their attitude, and their genuine love was obvious from the
    enquiries of where we got our Pakistani jerseys from, at least a dozen of
    them wanting pictures with us, treating us like celebrities and the crazy
    celebratory stampede we witnessed post-match outside the stadium.
    When the Pakistani anthem had played at the start of the game and my brother
    and I were half-shouting, half-singing along, a Bangladeshi boy next to us
    said: “We know the words, this was once our anthem too.”*
    *
    Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2011*

  2. Meengla says:

    @Khurram,
    I think you are the first one who is saying that the majority of the spectators were from Pakistan. I find it hard to believe that 20,000+ Pakistanis traveled to BD for cricket (the stadium capacity is 27,000).
    Time is the best healer. So why should it be a huge surprise that almost 40 years since the tragedy of then E. Pakistan has a healing effect? I would say majority of those attended the matches involving Pakistan in BD these days were young local people who know the tragedy through history books. Just like most Indians and Pakistanis know about the massacre around the 1947 Partition second hand and are not particularly bitter about that part of India-Pakistan history.

    And how come the ‘Indian inspired’ Hasina Wajid tell thousands of people what to do when they go watch cricket matches? Utterly non-sense!

    Wait till the Pakistani visitors to the World Cup come back and give us their accounts.

  3. Khuram Khan says:

    Let us be clear on the crowd.It was from Pakistan with small sprinkling of Bangladeshis.Afridi’s and Muhammad Hafeez’s post match interview confirms this.You do not expect support as long as Indian sponsored Hasina is in power.

  4. Sajjad Junaidi says:

    @ Meengla

    I totally agree with you. I was feeling sorry for them too. I watched the tail end of their days of glory. As a kid I went to National Stadium Karachi to watch the final day of Test Match. Pakistan was batting to save the game, Malcolm Marshal and Joel Garner were all over Pakistani team.
    Last pair of Imran and Tauseef were trying their best. One of the deliveries from Marshal hit Tauseef in the box and they took the box out in bits and pieces of plastic. Tauseef was really hurt but I think he was on the ground longer than usual to waste time because Marshal and rest of the WI team was not happy. 15 minutes after that incident game was called off due to bad light.
    We all walked out of the stadium happy as if we won the game.

    Is WI going to get to that stage ever again?

  5. Nihari says:

    So here is a nice, brown, spicy and juicy conspiracy theory like my name…ymmmmm……Indian government is going through a lot of scandals….A small bird has told me that millions of dollars has been invested for thei semi final to happen and eventually India winning the world cup to take the peoples’ focus away from these scandals….so keep your fingers crossed, follow the money trail and be rich.

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