At a time when India-Pakistan relations are going through a very tough phase, one man has decided to make a meaningful and mature intervention. Retired Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar requested people on both sides of the border to not engage in virulent and hateful speech.
Speaking on his official YouTube channel where he often commentates on matters related to cricket, Akhtar decided to use the platform for giving his own message of peace. While the main topic of the video was cricketers from Pakistan and India who were funny, the former pacer did make a detour to give his noble message.
"I accept that our situation is bad, and I also accept that you love your country and we love ours, but we should not become a reason for more hatred. Despite the situation due to the Kashmir issue, we should not give any statement or action that aggravates the tension further. You should stand your ground but try tot to aggravate the tension between India and Pakistan," he said.
The tensions between the two nations started to rise after the Indian government decided to scrap the provisions of Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This meant that the state, which has been a thorny issue between the two nations, no longer enjoys a special status in the Indian union.
This led to major diplomatic activity from the side of Pakistan as their Prime Minister and former cricket captain Imran Khan tried to get the international community involved in the matter. However, the Indian government was able to overcome the attempts by Pakistan and prevent any adverse statements being issued by major powers around the world.
It is not surprising that Akhtar, who was known as a feisty and controversial character in his playing days, has emerged as a voice of reason. During the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup, he managed to get both Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh on his broadcast and engaged in very friendly conversations.
In the past also, Akhtar has been closely involved with Indian cricketers and media. He has worked as an expert for several Indian channels as well as being part of various shows organised by them. What is most interesting is the fact that in his playing days, Akhtar was involved in heated exchanges with both the cricketers named above.
But time and circumstances have changed. While a former teammate of Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, has been making provocative comments on Kashmir and India, and engaging in angry exchanges with former Indian cricketer and now a MP from the ruling BJP Gautam Gambhir, Shoaib has decided to sing an altogether a different tune.