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February 24, 2015

They know the nation


February 24, 2015


‘Tum jeeto ya haro hamain tum se piyar hay’ (Whether you win or lose, we love you). Women would pop up in front of TV cameras fawning over cricketers in paranormal delirium.
‘Tum kaam karo ya nah karo hum tumhain hee vote dain ge’ (Whether you deliver or not we will still vote for you). Men and women would hop around in inexplicable ecstasy during every election campaign. They have voted the PML-N into power in Punjab six times and three times in the centre, the PPP five times in Sindh and four times in the centre.
The parties instead of reforming health, education, police and economy and eradicating corruption have worsened the situation on all fronts. Yet people would keep voting them into power and expecting them to perform just like they expect our repeatedly tried and failed cricketers to perform. Yes they are some kind of zombies.
Politicians and cricketers bear quite a few similarities, the foremost being their practical understanding of this nation. Politicians have successfully turned politics into an abstract art of infinitely blowing hollow and shallow political statements for people they have kept educationally, intellectually, and socially hollow and shallow through a system of corruption, incompetence and nepotism. However, for themselves politics is all about making money.
Likewise, cricketers have the same strategic tendency; they give more statements than the number of runs and wickets they ever take. Younis Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and their likes appear in front of mikes and cameras with such a frequency that they seem part of the media crew. That’s their cricket for the people; for themselves cricket is all about making money.
Politicians may sometimes somewhat appear to be opposing each other but when it comes to safeguarding corruption, VIP protocols, privileges, perks and packages they stand united and are extremely sensitive about it quite like cricketers who may compromise

on the game but would raise hell on central contracts.
Like politicians, cricketers also enjoy holistic impunity from law and justice in this country. The Ministry of Sports and Culture, through a notification on August 16, 1999 during the PML-N’s previous government had requested a judicial commission to include World Cup 1999 in its probe. There was a lot of outcry at that time over how matches were lost. However that notification was withdrawn within 48 hours on August 18, 1999 without any explanation. The cricketers were said to be cleared by the ‘Accountability Cell’.
Even the ‘well-known’ corrupt politicians are revered by our media. Anchorpersons – in obsequious veneration – seek their wisdom on national matters and columnists devotedly doodle reams of oily adulation at their political to-ing and fro-ing. Some cricketers who were unfortunately caught red-handed and punished for corruption in an un-Islamic country are regularly invited by the media and their ‘expert’ opinion is sought; anchorpersons treat them with awe and even appeal to the nation to stand with them in this ‘ordeal’. Columnists advocate their return to cricket and passionately urge the nation to overlook the boys’ ‘little mistakes’. The nation also showers their ‘love’ on the ‘victimised’ poor cricketers.
Politicians in this country are incurably in love with India. They remain obediently numb and mum when India constructs 38 projects on Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers or supports terrorism in Pakistan, when Pakistanis are burned trapped in the Samjhauta Express or their boats are burned in open seas. Cricketers, like their political counterparts, also remain submissively docile to India – losing every World Cup match to them in consistent servility.
Every other politician wants to be the prime minister of this hapless country come what may. Every other cricketer wants to be the captain of the team come what may. Whether children die of hunger and disease in Thar or people die of bullets in Model Town, whether petrol disappears from Punjab and water from Karachi, no politician in government will give up his/her lucrative position. Cricketers, likewise, would cling to their positions in the team no matter how they ‘perform’. Politicians and cricketers both break the rules of the game and never budge until kicked out by someone else.
Politicians have lately made a mess of this country. Cricketers have lately made a mess of this game. Yet they both get away because they know this nation. ‘Tum jeeto ya haro hamain tum se piyar hay’.
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