TIMES OF INDIA – PEACENIKS FROM PAK HAIL PMS’ BONHOMIE
Published: Times of India – April 1, 2011
CHANDIGARH: Pakistani peaceniks have derived a peace message from the semi-final match between India and Pakistan, saying that it was a great occasion as prime ministers of enemy countries normally do not sit together through an entire match.
“Teams of enemy countries also do not play and greet each other on their success,” Sayeeda Diep from Lahore-based Institute for Peace and Secular Studies told TOI here, congratulating the Indian team for its victory over Pakistan. “Enemies do not have dinner together normally,” she observed, obviously hailing the friendly atmosphere off-pitch.
“It is a victory of friendship, goodwill, peace. The two prime ministers must carry forward the sentiments, created through the match and their meeting, to initiate a larger people-to-people dialogue,” she said.
Diep and other Pakistanis, however, felt a little disappointed over the defeat before the Indian home crowd but praised their team for giving a good fight to their rivals.
Most visiting Pakistani fans suggested that such matches should be played at a neutral venue so that the teams don’t feel any crowd pressure.
“This world cup is a big victory for South Asia as nations from the region will be vying for the title and Pakistan also had reached the semi-final stage,” Diep said.
Mariaum Arif, a Pakistani lawyer, said, “We came to India to root for both the teams and the team that played better on the day has won.”
A software professional from Pakistan, Awais Masud, who has a blog called SecularPakistan, said that people in India displayed great friendship before and after the match. “This is exactly what matters when there are matches between the two countries,” he said.
Usman Gill, another fan, said the match has proved a catalyst for peace efforts between the two countries and the two PMs should now move forward in a planned manner.