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.

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 Salaam Cricket West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Kevin Pietersen is probably the best cricketer I have played with: Eoin Morgan

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: SLC defend decision to tour

Jesse Ryder’s New Zealand comeback possible: Mike Hesson

Sudeep Tyagi included in Saurashtra squad for Ranji Trophy one-day team

Kerala’s 1st greenfield stadium meets ICC standards

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

आपकी दिवाली खुशनुमा, सुरक्षित और शुभ हो

Deepika Padukone’s ex boyfriend at Strip Club with Freida Pinto

Movies to watch this week: Happy New Year!

सेक्स टिप # 13: महिलाओं में कामेच्छा (low libido) की समस्या

iOS 8.1 update now available bringing Camera Roll, SMS Relay, iCloud Photo library among others

Magic Bus Has Houston’s Attention–First Fundraising Gala Nets Over $350,000

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: RJ Pritam solves inmates problems while Ali Quli Mirza creates more on Day 29!

IBM to pay $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries to buy its chip division

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here