Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is wrong at the cricket?

Terrorists have today targeted the Sri Lankan cricket team, playing in Lahore as the vehicle they were in came under attack. It's a sad day for all of those concerned, and possibly the death knoll for Pakistani cricket.

Already western nations have registered concerns about playing in the country, with the upcoming Champion's Trophy moved because of security fears and Australia being vocal in its intention not to tour the country. Those concerns had always been raised by western countries, and the Asian bloc had always stuck by Pakistan in these disputes.

Now, it seems, anybody's a target for terrorists in the region. There was always the argument that it was safe to tour the country because it was an unspoken rule that they would never target cricketers or sporting venues. Now, that argument has been shot down as they targeted not just cricketers, but Sri Lankan cricketers.

It now seems certian that no internation cricket will be played inside the country, and the standard of Pakistani cricket will suffer for it. The real question is though, how did things become so bad that terrorists could target cricketers?

The short-sighted will point to the appointment of the current Pakistani administration and cluck their western tongues, professing that this sort of thing would never have happened under Pervez Musharref.

Of course, that's a pile of bul-clod and anyone with half a peanut can tell you that hardline Islam was gathering momentum in Pakitstan during the last administration. In the north of the country, there was an increasing call to allow certain provinces to enfoce Sharia law, in stark contrast to the secular shine the administration was putting on the country.

As Musharef became the centre of Washington's attention as the rise of hardline exteremism reared its ugly head, he was caught in somewhat of a quandry. You see, he really did need the support of these exteremists to get 're-elected'. So to the rest of the world he presented a brave face and said they were doing all they could to wipe out extremism in the region, but those inside the country knew the administration could be doing more.

Now, with the Mumbai bombings and these latest attacks, perhaps we're starting to see the fruits of Musharref's inaction coming home to bear poisoned fruit, and it will take a long time to stabilise the region given the extremists were given room to fortify during his reign.

All we can hope is that this latest attack will galvanise the curent administration's resolve to work on eliminating extremism in the region and we can start to see the potential of a truly secular Pakistan.

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