Saturday November 27, 2021

Will Afridi go for political sixer living up to his reputation in cricket stadium?

May 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Whether or not cricketing hero Shahid Afridi finally jumps in the murky political arena to test the waters, his welfare activities, recent visit to Azad Kashmir and his remarks have ignited public interest and attracted attention of a multitude of people.

Afridi has retired from all the three formats of the international cricket – T20, one-day and Test – is no more the member of the Pakistan’s national squad and plays only in the franchised cricket. Last time, he represented the Multan Sultan in the Pakistan Super League.

A glance at his Twitter posts shows that he has a special love for the religion as well as the oppressed Kashmiris, wants their independence from the Indian yoke and is highly critical of the Indian atrocities.

During his Azad Kashmir visit on May 17, former skipper requested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to include a team from Kashmir in Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6.

“I wish to play my last PSL season from the Kashmir team, in fact as their captain. I’ve been deeply humbled by all the love shown to me by the people of Kashmir. I hope they will support me at their full if I play for them in PSL.”

His recent remark, “I would address the issues of unemployment and education if I became the prime minister of Pakistan” sheds light on his political ambition if one is not indulging in reading too much in it.

However, his own rebuttal to his supposed fondness for politics emerged from his own interview with a TV channel that is so far the only electronic outlet, which has a full-fledged one-hour conversation with him.

Thus far, no other TV channel has displayed any proclivity to get out of him his real political plans, if any. “I would have come in politics when I had received offers [from political parties]. The prime minister’s chair looks pretty from distance. I do what I am able to. I have no fascination to talk big. I have no intention to come in politics. Speculation that I am becoming prime minister is not correct. Service of humanity is superior to politics. Opposition leaders would have to be given respect. Family’s head did not hold the gun to run the family. Still Pakistan is short of quality talent,” Afridi said.

His recent picture showing him praying lonely at a road with his luxurious car standing nearby also exploded general discussion about his political designs because those having political plans generally arrange such photographs and release them too. Over the time, some politicians have been doing this to exhibit their love for religion and to depict that they are thoroughly religious minded.

Afridi conspicuously figures among Pakistan’s cricketing leading lights, who reigned the sports stadiums for several years and was one of the fastest run takers with his unforgettable sixes and fours.

It was oftentimes stated and correctly so that when he plays he makes the heart beat of the spectators and viewers race at the fastest pace even if he performs or collapses with an unimpressive faring. It is premature to hazard a guess whether he will cause joy or sorrow to his supporters and rivals if and when he formally signs up for politics.

“Proud Muslim. Cricket. Help all. Chairman @SAFoundationN; Boom Boom. #Afridi10 Manager; @AmeemHaq;” is how Afridi has introduced himself on the Twitter.

In one his tweets, he said; "We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: We seek neither recompense nor thanks from you." [Surat al-Insan: 9] @SAFoundationN #DonateKaroNa Ration Drive distributed food supplies to the most needy on the streets of Karachi. Ensuring #HopeNotOut for all during #Eid2020”.

Afridi has also stated that “Pakistan is stuck in the swamp of problems and we have to unite and make it an ideal country. More than 20 million children are missing out on education and the goal is to bring them to school. Our culture and religion are very beautiful. Loving the humanity is the greatest degree.”

He has special love for Kashmir. Afridi lambasted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a viral video. “The world is currently infected by such a big disease [coronavirus pandemic]. But the bigger disease is in Modi’s mind. Modi deployed 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir, same as the total strength of Pakistani forces.”

On the Kashmir Solidarity Day, Afridi said he was heartbroken over the international community's silence on Indian atrocities in Kashmir. He tweeted, "The world’s prolonged silence on the atrocities committed against Kashmiris is heartbreaking, with innocent civilians suffering for numerous years. Praying for humanity to prevail. My thoughts & prayers are with the people today #KashmirSolidarityDay.”

As far as the welfare work is concerned, Afridi is focused on the Foundation he heads, and is doing a good job. The organisation has distributed essential items in different areas of Pakistan during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Will he use this exceptional charity job as his launching pad to enter politics is yet to be seen? Joining politics by different celebrities of various spheres is not something new in Pakistan. How the major political parties will react to Afridi’s political activity if and when he opts for it will be seen after his formal plunge in the muddy pitch that is simply different from any playing ground.