Border Security Force (BSF), India's paramilitary force guarding the land border, has been irked by Pakistan cricketer Hasan Ali's gestures during the traditional flag-lowering ceremony at the Attari-Wagah Border on Saturday, April 22.
While BSF spokesperson and DIG RS Kataria labeled Ali's gestures "provocative", BSF Inspector General [Punjab Frontier] Mukul Goel said the act "hit the sanctity of the parade", as quoted by The Indian Express.
Ali, the Champions Trophy 2017-winning Pakistan fast bowler, is seen walking towards the area where the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers take part in the ceremony, which has been in practice since 1959. The 24-year-old then performs his signature on-field celebration move while facing the Indian crowd on the other side of the border.
Ali pats his thigh and raises his arms pointing upwards even as the Rangers are watching on. He is then being escorted away from the site by a man, who is believed to be a Pakistani officer.
No public person can interfere in the parade: BSF Inspector General
Only the BSF and the Rangers are allowed to conduct the ceremony and no civilian is allowed to interrupt, according to protocols, the newspaper reports.
"The act has hit the sanctity of the parade. We will lodge a protest with Pakistan Rangers," Goel said.
He added: "Anyone can make any aggressive gesture in the viewers' gallery on both sides but no public person can interfere in the parade. Before or after the parade, the people are free to do such things, but not in the middle of the parade."
Kataria, while confirming that BSF would lodge a protest with the Rangers over the act, said: "A BSF officer at Attari has told me that the national cricket team of Pakistan had come to witness the ceremony at Wagah. One of the cricketers from their team started making provocative gestures during the drill. It happened on Pakistani side"
"Since it is a drill of forces of two countries, BSF is lodging protest with Pakistan Rangers."
Notably, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had shared images from the Men in Green's visit to the Wagah Border on Saturday. Captain Sarfraz Khan and Hasan Ali were among the many who were part of the gallery.
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan took to Twitter to share the video of Ali's amusing behavior.
"Mera dost @RealHa55an entertaining everyone at the Wahga border. He really does know how to engage the crowd (sic)," Khan wrote as a caption.