1 - 7, 2010

Sport is meant to bring people and nations together and remove old animosities between historical enemies and not to turn good neighbors into angry opponent.

Who could forget the role Pakistan had played in bringing old enemies Peoples Republic of China and United States of America closer through "Ping Pong" diplomacy. The PIA flight that flew to Beijing in complete secrecy four decades ago with US top diplomats on board brought about the thaw in the icy relations between the two countries.

One could also not forget when a football match triggered a war among two neighbors in Central Latin American countries in mid sixties.

Recently a football matches between Arabic speaking Algeria and Egypt ended in attack on one of the teams in Cairo. Only a month ago the Luandan football team was attacked while on its way to Angola to play in an African football championship. In the month of March last year the Sri Lankan cricketers were attacked by terrorists in Lahore.

But sports and sportsmen supported by saner government have always overcome these temporary problems and brought people together despite many difficulties.

However the storm stirred by ignoring Pakistani players in Indian Primer Cricket League recently is not subsiding though people with reason and knowledge across the borders are strongly condemning the acts of a few short sighted Indian cricket managers headed by notorious Lalit Mody, the chief of the IPL.

After realizing the blunder that the IPL nudged by Indian government committed in insulting eleven Pakistani cricketers by not getting them sold in auction ceremony hosted with all the glitz and glamour.

Both the Indian cricket managers and government moved to contain the damage. Suddenly there was acceptance of guilt and voices were raised to review the decision.

However in Pakistan which felt that its honor as a nation had been tarnished by a simple act in the field of sports, the feelings had stiffened and there was a move that Pakistani players should not be allowed to play in the IPL that would have rewarded the players million of rupees had they got the places in the teams in the IPL.

In a new twist to the IPL saga, Pakistan Cricket Board took a harsh stand and revoked No Objection Certificates given to Pakistani players earlier to play in India and declared that any request in future would be decided on case to case basis with the approval of the concerned authorities.

This new development would certainly force Indian cricket authorities to abandon all the reconciliatory moves. That would create a position from which the two neighbours would not back off. The IPL story related to Pakistani players is like an Agatha Christy mystery novel in which all the evidence is in the public gaze but still the murderer could not be identified.

If the security of the Pakistani players was one reason for their absence from the IPL, then one can argue what about the security of players from other countries.

Bal Thakray, the supreme of Shiv Sena had thundered against Australian cricketers because Indian students were being roughed up in Sydney and Melbourne.

If Mumbai is unsafe for Pakistanis because of Shiv Sena then it is also unsafe for the Australians.Indian actress Shilpa Shetty flew off in rage when criticized for not bidding Pakistani players but as second thoughts she hinted that some political parties were also against accepting Pakistani players.

The ruling Congress alliance is already unhappy with Lalit Mody for taking IPL II to South Africa in defiance last year. They retaliated by keeping Lalit Modi away from Rajasthan Cricket association where the IPL head lost an ordinary provincial elections. Lalit Modi did his best to create first hurdle for Pakistanis when he demanded NOCs from the PCB, the Pakistani interior ministry, and foreign ministry.

When all the conditions were met he came up with the idea of hinting the Franchise not to bid for the Pakistani players. IPL has landed itself in deep trouble and any minor or major problem would sink the entire IPL ship to unknown depths. Just imagine the fate of the IPL if one of the political parties, or loony groups, attacks the players, or violently disrupts a match that would be the end of the IPL.

India too, then, would have become a Pakistan, a Zimbabwe for the rest of the cricket world.

It could still happen, thanks to the presence of the Australian players. In such a scenario, the franchisees did the best thing possible. It is impossible to guess if they arrived at a secret pact. No body even knows if the IPL itself asked them to go slow. Would it have been better had the Pakistani players been not put in the pool.

But then, there could have been other charges, other accusations. In the meantime sympathy continues to pour in for Pakistani players with Indian sports minister MS Gill who recently said that a lesson was learnt from the auction 'fiasco' and hoping that players from across the border would get a chance to play in the T20 event.

None of the 11 Pakistani players in the fray was picked by any of the eight Indian Premier League franchisees in the January 19 auction and entire Pakistan cried foul after the snub.

Players like Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanvir called it a 'humiliation' of their country but subsequently offered to put behind the episode and make themselves available for the cash-awash league. Asked for his reaction on the Pakistani playersí stance, Gill said he welcomed their statement and would like to see them play in India again.

"I have seen the graceful response of some Pakistani cricketers to the IPL auction fiasco. I welcome the remarks and hope there will soon be an opportunity for these boys to play exciting cricket in India," Gill said.

Clearly unhappy with collective snub to the Pakistani cricketers, Gill asked the franchisee owners to learn a lesson from the episode.Earlier, Home Minister P Chidambaram had also chided the IPL franchisees, saying the franchisees had done a ìdisserviceî to the game by ignoring the Pakistani players.

Chidambaram said the cricket lovers were disappointed by the franchiseesí behaviour and felt the entire controversy was avoidable.

Even though the incident triggered off a series of tit-for-tat gestures by Pakistan, the Pakistan Hockey Federation there assured they remained committed to their participation in the World Cup beginning next month.

Welcoming the statement, Gill said, ìI have noted reports of the secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation of their preparations to come for the Hockey World Cup in Delhi. I look forward to an exciting opening match between India and Pakistan on February 28."

IPL is the most commercial aspect of the cricket, meant basically to make few people richerómay be few players /Organizers/Advertisers/Media and providing entertainment to lakhs of viewers directly or indirectly.

Pakistan playerís problem is that they were called for the event but not included in any of the squad, by not bidding. And they are feeling cheated. Because security is not their problem. Providing security to all the players is the job of the organizers and the government of the country in which they are playing. In fact, they should have not been called in the first place, if security was an issue.

Indian Bollywood star Aamir Khan is among those who had spoken for the Pakistani players. ìNational boundaries are man-made. If someone is a good cricketer, then I would want him in my team. I donít care which country he belongs to,î Aamir said.

"Sometime cricket brings us together and sometimes we fight each other even more. When we fight I feel it is silly. At the end of the day, it is a game and we should enjoy it as a game," he said. None of the 11 Pakistani players found a buyer at the auction leading to an outrage across Pakistan.The IPL franchises, however, maintained that the availability of the players was the sole criterion for rejecting them at the auction.


Allied Bank hosted a ceremony at its head office in Lahore to honor the world renowned Cricket umpire, Aleem Dar, who is also on the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires. The ceremony was held to recognize him for being declared "The Best ICC Umpire of the Year - 2009". Mr. Mohammad Aftab Manzoor, CEO, Allied Bank, presented a cash prize to Mr. Aleem Dar, in recognition of his services rendered and raising the Country's image at home and abroad, by discharging his duties through honesty, integrity, responsibility and professionalism.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Aleem Dar, who is also a regular employee at Allied Bank for the last 15 years, thanked the Management of the Bank for its generosity and recognition of his services to the Bank, the Nation and Cricket. He expressed his resolve to continue bringing more laurels in future both for the Country and Allied Bank.

On this occasion, Mr. Mohammad Aftab Manzoor, CEO, Allied Bank announced to promote Mr. Aleem Dar to the next level and said: "It is a matter of great pride for Allied Bank in having Mr. Dar as its regular employee for over a decade. We are extremely thrilled and excited for him to have brought a great honor for the country and this cash award and promotion is just a little token of our gratitude for the immense pleasure he has brought to the whole nation."

Also present on the occasion were: Mr. Tahir Hassan Qureshi (CFO), Mr. Muhammad Shahzad Sadiq, Group Chief, A&CRR; Mr. Shafique Ahmed Uqaili Group Chief HR; Khawaja Mohammad Almas, Group Chief, Core Banking; Mr. Mujahid Ali, Group Chief, IT; and Mr. Afzal H. Bukhari, Group Chief, Commercial & Retail Banking Group, Central-I, Allied Bank.