Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh said that India should not play Pakistan in their World Cup match in Manchester on June 16 following the Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the dastardly act.
“India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup. India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan,” Harbhajan Singh told Aaj Tak.
He added, “This is a difficult time. The attack that has happened, it was unbelievable and it’s very wrong. Strict action will surely be taken by the government. When it comes to cricket, I don’t think we should have any relations with them otherwise they will keep treating us like this.
“I don’t think we need to have any relations with Pakistan or play any cricket with them.
“I don’t think India should play the World Cup match against Pakistan. Country comes first and we are all standing behind our country. Cricket or hockey or sports, it should be kept aside because this is a huge thing and repeatedly our soldiers are killed. We should stand with our country. Cricket or hockey or any sport, we don’t need to play with them.”
If suppose India meet Pakistan in the semi-final or the final, India can still afford to forfeit their game against their arch-rivals in the league stage meaning they will lose points. But the bigger question arises when the two sides come face to face in the knock-out stage
“We are too small to discuss what needs to be done – there are big people sitting in power who can take a call,” he says.
“What happens if we have to play Pakistan in the semi-final or final? There’s plenty of time for June-July. The people in power will need what to do. But nobody can harm India. What happened in Pulwama is tragic. We are safe today only because of our defence forces,” Harbhajan said.
India do not play bilateral cricket with Pakistan and Harbhajan added that India should not keep any kinship with Pakistan.
“We should not keep any kind of ties with Pakistan: we are powerful enough to feed the world on our own. Cricket, sports is not as important. We stand with every member of the defence force. Their sacrifices should no go to waste. Before cricket, the main things should be sorted out. How that happens can be decided by the government. Till those problems are solved, India should not play cricket or any sport with them,” he added.
FYI, India have never met Pakistan in a bilateral series since the 2012-13 home series. After 2013, India have met Pakistan at the Asia Cup on 5 occasions, twice in Champions Trophy, twice in World T20 and once in World Cup. The last time when the Men in Blue met Pakistan was in Asia Cup in September last year where India beat their arch-rivals three times twice in the league stage and then in the virtual final.
Indian government took a decisive step to withdraw ‘MFN status’ to Pakistan which was given in the year 1996. This is a big blow to Pakistan.
What is MFN status?
MFN status means Most Favoured Nation status which is granted to an international trade partner to ensure equal trading between all partner countries of the World Trade Organization.
Since the two neighbouring countries- India and Pakistan are part of the WTO, they both are required to grant MFN status to each other as well as other partner countries.
FYI, a country which gives MFN status to another country has to provide concessions, privileges including immunity in trade agreements, which is the first clause in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
IMG Reliance on Sunday pulled out from broadcasting the Pakistan Super League in protest against the Pulwama terror blast. This means that none of the PSL matches will be telecasted in India.
A senior official went on to add that IMG Reliance is only producers of the event and that Pakistan Super League will go off air unless the Pakistan Cricket Board chips in alternate production services or else they are expected to incur huge losses.
“Unfortunately, denying India cricket fans the right to follow HBL PSL by blocking all digital coverage as well as covering or removing the portrait of former Pakistan cricket captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan and other legendary cricketers from one of the most historic cricket clubs and venues are highly regrettable actions,” the PCB said.
“The PCB intends to take up these incidents with the BCCI and the ICC at the upcoming ICC committee meeting in Dubai later this month.”