‘It’s not a war’: Wasim calls for calm in India-Pakistan World Cup clash

Fans of Pakistan's cricket team (L) and India's (R) cheer in the stands before Pakistan's Cricket World Cup match against India in Adelaide, February 15, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 June 2019

‘It’s not a war’: Wasim calls for calm in India-Pakistan World Cup clash

  • Urges fans on both the sides of the border to stay calm during potentially volatile clash on Sunday
  • "India and Pakistan playing at World Cup with over a billion audience is the biggest thing in cricket," Wasim says

MANCHESTER (United Kingdom): Former Pakistan star Wasim Akram has called for calm ahead of his country’s World Cup clash with India
Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has urged fans on both the sides of the border to stay calm during his country’s potentially volatile World Cup clash against bitter rivals India in Manchester on Sunday.
Wasim, who is in England for the match as a commentator, labelled the latest meeting between the old enemies as “the biggest match of the World Cup.”
But with passions running high among both fanbases and political relations between the countries extremely tense, Wasim said the match should be enjoyed rather than used to inflame the situation.
“This can’t be bigger,” Wasim told AFP on Friday. “India and Pakistan playing at the World Cup with over a billion audience is the biggest thing in cricket, so my message to both sets of fans to enjoy it and stay calm.
“One team will win, one team will lose, so stay graceful and do not take this as a war. Those who project this match as war are not true cricket fans.”
The Old Trafford clash is a sell-out, with tickets now for sale on the black market at reported prices of around £2,500 ($3,150).
And former pace bowler Wasim admitted any India against Pakistan match has pressure, let alone one in the World Cup.
“Who can realize the pressure more than me?” said Wasim. “I used to look forward to a match against India because it brings the best out of the players from both the sides.”
Pakistan have never beaten India in six World Cup matches dating back to 1992, but Wasim thinks that poor run could change on Sunday.
“Pakistan can beat India through controlled aggression,” said Wasim, who was part of the Pakistan team in the 1992, 1999, 2003 World Cups when they lost to India.
He was sidelined through a shoulder injury when India beat Pakistan in the 1996 quarter-finals.
“Yes, I don’t have fond memories of the World Cup matches against India but I have enjoyed all these matches over the year as fans are glued to television wherever they are. It will be like that again on Sunday,” he said.
Wasim admits India have a stronger line-up, but he insists Pakistan can still shock their rivals in a one-off match, as they did in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
“Yes, India have a strong batting and bowling line up but Pakistan can match them. When it comes to India and Pakistan game the team that handles the pressure well wins the day,” he said.
“I surely hop that rain stays off. Fans want to watch a full matches, intense and lively so we all hope that rain stays away.”
India have five points from three matches after beating England and South Africa, while their match against New Zealand was washed out on Thursday.
Pakistan have lost against the West Indies and Australia and shocked hosts England, while their match against Sri Lanka was washed out.


Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.