FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The two Pakistans
Posted:Dec 31, 2015
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Asha'ar Rehman
 
Perhaps you have also been not lucky enough to miss that ugly altercation between two famous cricket stars of ours, both former Test captains in fact. The argument took place during a television programme, where most of our severest conflicts take place these days, with few if any signs of resolution. In the way we have been trained to view it, these two men appear to represent two very different courses of reaching the high pedestal of fame.
 
This can be considered a very relevant example since very few can come close to matching the popularity the cricketers here enjoy. They are the perfect stereotypes to carry this story forward.
 
One party to the live televised show is the modern protagonist. He is the well-educated and well-heeled gentleman who went to better schools in Lahore. He then followed his ‘sufi’ and much-loved and truly enigmatic — bearded in a different sort of way — brother into the national side. He was destined, so to speak, to captain the under-19 team and modelled himself initially on the upright and infallible Majid Khan. After a career as a national cricketer, a selector and a senior cricket board official, he is now one of the few Pakistanis who are on the panel commentators, and regularly covers games all over the world.
 
Who was the better player of the two? The underdog or the more privileged gent?
His competitor in the shouting match comes from a totally different background. He was born in a far less affluent Lahore, and as a member of a minority faith, stumbled along until he was reportedly noticed by the great Zaheer Abbas. The young man was picked up and went on to be recognised as one of the batting artists this country has produced along with his mentor, Zaheer.
 
He was in time exposed to the religious sentiment in the dressing room courtesy the Tableeghi Jamaat. Converting to Islam later, he gradually emerged as one of the few prominent members of the group of cricketers born again as social reformers. The members of this group placed their faith in a most rigorous promotion of religious practices as a solution to the materialism they found the world afflicted with.
 
Thus it is something like this: there is one Pakistani who travels around the globe and who must have been subjected to all the criticism and quite frequently condemnation of his countrymen who do not by any stretch enjoy an impeccable reputation internationally. Facing him is a Pakistani confident that his is the best system over all others.
 
On this particular occasion, these two sides representing — or seeking to represent — two very different sets of Pakistanis came face to face over Muhammad Amir: should the still young and promising fast bowler be allowed to be back in the national squad after serving a five-year sentence for spot-fixing?
 
The issue had been complicated by the refusal of two other captains of the national side, both current players, to play alongside Amir. These two had tried to occupy the high moral ground of the well-educated and well-groomed against the more lenient view which the tableeghi cricketer now sat down to defend.
 
He drew desperate attempts from his ‘rival’. This was a rival who, typically, could have perhaps been saved the embarrassment with some presence of mind upfront and who was now being subjected to the strongest of attacks on his cricketing contribution even prowess.
 
This was a good enough opportunity to engage genuine cricket connoisseurs of whom this country really has a constant supply. Who was the better player of the two? The underdog or the more privileged gent who had his elder brother illuminating the path for him? If the underdog seemed to at least be a better entertainer, how then were we to overcome our own reservations about the flaunting and mixing of religion and sport?
 
It is indeed a revealing case for those whose beliefs leave them with no other options but to hope for reconciliation between the two strands displayed so efficiently in this television clip by these two players. This belief is sustained by the original idea that neither of the two images can be annihilated to the permanent supremacy of one over the other. There may be moments where one of these, for whatever criticism it may draw from you and me, will appear to have got the better of the other but this other will surely return to resume the battle, leaving the bystanders bemused, baffled or frightened depending on an individual’s understanding of the situation.
 
It was quite apt that the televised duel at one place has a participant mentioning Wasim Akram’s name as the final arbiter to clinch the argument in his own favour. Wasim is one person who is thought to have seen both these worlds during and even before his cricketing years. He has courted controversy, has been accused of cheating and has been able to find his way to settlement and rehabilitation each time he was in trouble. He did it with a smile and without any visible, public resort to morals. It’s been said many times that he may be one survivor of the pulls from various sides wanting to make a better person of everyone around.
 
The experiment, in the meanwhile, must continue for other acceptable versions born of the fusion. There must be others that can truly be described as having resulted from the various influences out there, instead of one having been created in isolation of the other. One thing is for sure that an interaction between the two is necessary to enable the debate which is for now caught by and large in an unending and vicious web of name calling and ridiculing of the other by each of us.
 
Enabling interaction between the two disparate Pakistanis can be as big a resolution for the year 2016 as any.
 
The writer is Dawn’s resident editor in Lahore.
 
Dawn, January 1, 2016
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699