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Saturday October 23, 2021

Gentlemen’s game

September 22, 2021

The cancellations of the tours of the New Zealand and the England cricket teams are not issues of security but of Pakistan’s failure at the diplomatic front. It seems that India has won this battle of diplomacy, since it is believed that it had something to do with the cancellation of the tour. Pakistan’s foreign front is weak and there is a need to completely overhaul the whole system. In the history of Pakistan, two foreign ministers, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sahabzada Yaqub, rendered exemplary services to the diplomatic office, but the current officials do not measure up.

Postings to the Foreign Office should be based on merit. Only with strong diplomacy and stringent security measures can Pakistan ensure that such a situation does not arise again.

Shakir H Shamim

Islamabad

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This refers to the news report ‘Who did ‘India’s bidding’ to spoil NZ tour?’ (September 18). The report claims that an Indian print media outlet had suggested in advance that the New Zealand tour of Pakistan may be canceled due to security concerns.

To the utter dismay of cricket fans across the country, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board called off the Blackcaps’ tour after a report from Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance, revealed the existence of a security threat. The nature of the threat was not shared with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) or the Pakistani government. This unilateral decision of the NZC has not only inflicted heavy financial losses to the PCB but also marred Pakistan’s reputation as a safe country for sports. It seems there is more than meets the eye. Especially now that the English Cricket Board (ECB) has also cancelled the tour of the England men’s and women’s cricket teams. It is also quite likely that Australia will follow suit and cancel its tour scheduled for February 2022. The NZC offered to play the matches at a neutral venue, which Pakistan refused. Pakistan should continue to take a firm stance in the matter and should only agree to tour countries that are fully willing to visit Pakistan. Doing so might curtail international cricket in Pakistan, but it will save Pakistan from embarrassing situations like the one it has just faced. Also, Pakistan can expand the PSL to include more teams from major cities and enhance the league cricket, which would generate more business.

Raja Shafaatullah

Islamabad