There is reason enough to question the timing and propriety of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s decision to resume bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan, disrupted since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which the complicity of Pakistan’s state and non-state actors has well and truly emerged. At a time when Pakistan is indulging in propaganda against its role in the attacks, such a move by the BCCI will send wrong signals. Despite repeated calls by the Manmohan Singh government the Pakistani trial against perpetrators of the attacks has been a virtual eyewash with no forward movement. The evidence passed on by India to help establish the case has run into a stone wall. In such circumstances, the BCCI decision to revive cricket ties can only be seen as a sign that India is buckling under pressure. Much as cricket-loving Indians and Pakistanis would like to see a revival of cricketing ties, national honour dictates that instead of India capitulating, this country should meet Pakistan half-way.
The Pakistan cricket board has been struggling due to its loss of revenue that has been accentuated by India’s refusal to play, but bailing it out should hardly be the government’s or BCCI’s concern. The cold reality is that the alarming security situation in Pakistan has led countries to stop them from hosting any international sporting event since March 2009, when the Sri Lanka team bus became a terror target in Lahore. Besides the aspect of security, it is unfair to push such an unplanned series down the throats of overworked Indian players. While politicians and cricket administrators may gloat over the team that will arrive in their backyard, the players will be more worried about the timing of it all.
India can also not lose track of the moral dimension of hosting the Pakistan team. It is well-known that some Pakistani players have in the recent past been found guilty of match-fixing. We must ponder whether, by reviving cricketing ties, we are not providing legitimacy to a team that has been discredited for having tainted players.