In news this morning from Islamabad, yesterday’s crucial cricket match between Pakistan and India appears to have had a resounding effect on diplomacy between the two nations. Newspapers across Pakistan are upbeat about the match despite the fact that Pakistan lost horribly to India. In an unexpected turn of events, the meeting of Prime Ministers Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh may end up being the real victory for both countries.
The “carnival atmosphere” of yesterday’s ICC World Cup Cricket match between these two rivals is said to have been the catalyst for a dialogue, even the beginning of a detentes between these two leaders, and perhaps between the two age old rivals. Some are calling the series of events leading up to today’s upbeat news “diplomacy through cricket.” The match is now dominating the front pages of newspapers across Pakistan and India, but more importantly the story is about more than Sachin Tendulkar or his counterpart Shahid Afridi – it’s about hope for peace.
According to the various reports, the two Prime Ministers have apparently set a course for peace between these two embattled countries. The dialogue shattered by the Mumbai incident is, according to many of these reports, being patched up by Singh and Gilani despite the hawks in either country’s governments. Already it appears Singh has accepted Gilani’s invitation to visit Pakistan later this year.
Despite the fact that no official reports have been forthcoming, just the dialogue going on in Pakistani news reflects the apparent desire of people there. And concerning the game yesterday, Pakistan and India have not come together over an event such as this in decades – maybe even never. Symbolic of the open doors between the two countries was not only the game itself, but where it was held, Punjab and Kashmir having been notoriously contested regions between the two for for ever. Today’s news is particularly poignant and hopeful.
I should note here too, that positive headlines about diplomacy here, after all Pakistan’s hopes had been pinned on their team, this is more epic than the match itself. Talk about good winners and losers! A call has been voiced here – a call for peace. It is so resounding and clear – let’s follow this story today and in the days to come. Who would ever suspect such tangible human victories from a game of wickets -WOW.
The video below of fans coming across the border from Pakistan into India to see this match, this reveals the truth of cricket and of diplomacy. On either end of any dispute there are people – and people can live together with smiles – LOOK.