Home > News >

Pakistan Taliban reject offer to play exhibition match to promote peace and stability

Pakistan © Getty Images (Representational Photo)
Cricket in Pakistan is almost like a religion © Getty Images (Representational Photo)

Miranshah: Feb 25, 2014

The Pakistan Taliban on Monday rejected an offer to swap their guns for cricket bats and play a match for peace, saying the sport was responsible for turning youth away from jihad.

The militant group were responding to a call made earlier in the day by a top Pakistan’s minister who offered to host a match with the militants to revive stalled peace talks in comments which provoked derision on social media.

Pakistan’s government entered into a formal dialogue with the Taliban earlier this month, but the process faltered after the militants executed 23 kidnapped soldiers.

The military has retaliated with a series of air strikes in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan and are home to the Taliban’s top leadership, killing dozens.

With talks on a sticky wicket, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Monday that cricket could offer hope.

“I have information that the Taliban keep an interest in cricket. So if this message can go through to them, we can have a cricket match with them which can have a better result,” he told reporters in Islamabad following an exhibition game.

“The Taliban follow the Pakistan cricket team with keen interest so this can be a platform.”

But speaking to AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location, Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said his group would refuse to play.

“These secular people want to distance our youth from jihad and Islamic teachings through cricket. We are strongly against cricket and dislike it,” he said.

“We are ready to open the deadlock in peace talks created by the government. The government is not sincere in peace talks, but Taliban are ready for it.”

Reaction to the minister’s suggestion that the Taliban could be tempted into talks through cricket was also overwhelmingly negative on Twitter, which is used mainly by the country’s English speaking elite.

In a reference to bloody toll inflicted by the Taliban on Pakistan’s forces over the years, one user called @MidhatZ, said: “Cricket on a red pitch and may be they could bowl with our soldiers heads?”

Cricket is Pakistan’s main pastime and is sometimes termed the country’s “second religion” after Islam.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a diehard fan. And former cricketer Imran Khan now leads Pakistan’s third largest political party.

Cricket diplomacy has helped thaw ties between Pakistan and rival India in the past, with a visit by military ruler General Zia-ul-Haq to Jaipur in 1987 to watch a Test match seen as key in cooling raised tensions.

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

CPL 2014: Trinidad and Tobago to be integrated in Red Steel’s team name

Jos Buttler calls his Test call-up for England against India a “dream come true”

Pakistan court helps family of girl cricketer who committed suicide

Pakistan Cricket Board aims to introduce democratic process of governance

Sachin Tendulkar not offended by Maria Sharapova’s comment

Ishant Sharma: The enigma who takes key wickets

Statistical highlights of India vs England 2014, 2nd Test at Lord’s

Ishant Sharma’s email inbox after the Lord’s Test match against England

Ishant Sharma’s house targetted by fans after expecting another failure

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Nvidia Shield Tablet powered by a Tegra K1 processor announced

Why did Kareena Kapoor Khan reject six films in last five months?

What did Anil Kapoor do for daughters Sonam Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor’s Khoobsurat?

Xiaomi Mi4 announced; backed by 2.5 GHz quad-core processor and 3GB Ram!

Telecom stocks ring in gain; Nifty zooms 84 points

Diet Tip #23 – Switch to rice bran oil for better health

Know Your Exercises – Double leg butt kick

Kick: Salman Khan’s killer dialogues printed on T-shirts!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here