Pakistan: RAW Terrorized Zimbabwe Cricket Team
By Sajjad Shaukat
Coupled with hostile propaganda campaign, India has continuously been arranging various acts of terrorism like suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence in Baluchistan, Khyber Paktunkhwa, Sindh and Karachi including other regions of Pakistan through its secret agency, RAW which has also terrorized the Zimbabwe cricket team to cancel its trip to Pakistan.
In this regard, on June 23, this year, Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada disclosed to the members of the Punjab Assembly that Indian intelligence agency RAW sent a text message to the manger of Zimbabwean cricket team in Dubai threatening them with “possibility of terrorism in Pakistan and cancellation of tour”.
He revealed that the message received by the team manager was finally tracked down and it was found that it had come from New Delhi and that RAW was behind this conspiracy to malign Pakistan. He elaborated that India wanted that cricket series should be cancelled, so that Pakistan’s image could be tarnished abroad, but all-out security was assured to the Zimbabwean cricket team to foil nefarious designs of India.
The minister further pointed out that the biggest challenge for Pakistani law-enforcement agencies including the police was to ensure security of cricket series which was restored by the ICC after a lapse of six years, thanking LEAs for protecting the foreign team and helping conduct the five-match series successfully.
He maintained that international agencies including RAW were responsible for 90 percent of the terrorism in Pakistan.
However, Zimbabwe cricket authorities confirmed that Pakistan’s tour would go ahead as per schedule, while foolproof security was given to the team, during its trip to Pakistan, started from May 22, 2015. Interior ministry directed the authorities to make strict security arrangements even for the visitors.
Both sides played cricket matches—two twenty internationals on May 22 and 24, followed by three one day internationals on May 26, 29 and 31, in Qaddafi Stadium Lahore. By setting aside the RAW supported phenomenon of terrorism in wake of severe heat, thousands of persons went to see the cricket matches at Qaddafi Stadium.
It is notable that revival of international cricket after six years was a cheerful occasion for everyone. In this context, a letter of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said, “Sports for peace is our message, we feel pride in hosting Zimbabwe cricket team in the city”.
Nevertheless, while indicating Pakistan’s soft image in the comity of nations, it is a collective responsibility of all of us to not only highlight Pakistan’s positive aspect in connection with sports, but also give a message to the world through print, electronic and social media that Pakistan is a safe country for sports. And, particularly, it will be a way forward for other international cricket teams to play in Pakistan.
It is of particular attention that Indian RAW was also behind the Lahore terror-attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team, on March 3, 2009. In this respect, the bus of the Sri Lankan team was targeted, killing eight and injuring nine individuals including six visiting cricketers.
It is mentionable that under the pretext of Mumbai carnage of November 26, 2008, India had cancelled the scheduled visit of its cricket team to Pakistan, while Sri Lanka accepted the invitation of Islamabad. Indian rulers and its media anchors had expressed their displeasure at Colombo’s decision. Hence, New Delhi clandestinely pressurized Sri Lanka’s government to withdraw the decision. It could be judged from the fact that even Sri Lankan sports minister Gamini Lokuge disclosed that Pakistan “tour had become a diplomatic issue”. Its Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama stated that he decided the trip, taking it as a sporting issue, as his country promoted “people-to-people visits” among South Asian member states.
In fact, despite Indian duress coupled with a sense of jealousy, Sri Lanka remained determined and sent its cricketers to Pakistan. So, New Delhi punished Colombo through pre-arranged terror-attacks, conducted by well-trained and well-equipped terrorists of RAW. In this regard, it is noteworthy that in 2009, by striking a blow to the Indian backed militants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and by capturing their strongholds; Sri Lankan security forces successfully dismantled the Tigers’ mini-state in northern Sri Lanka where the rebels lost 98 percent of the territory, and were retreating even from their last bastion. On March 7, 2009, Sri Lankan Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama, while showing solidarity with Islamabad, categorically expressed Sri Lanka’s firm opposition to isolate Pakistan in the sporting arena or in any manner internationally over the incident of March 3, 2009.
Indian awkward strategy of mixing politics and sports is totally strange. Whether Indian team plays with Pakistan or that of Sri Lanka or the latter with our team has positive impact in restoring peace in South Asia, but regrettably, it is only anti-Pakistan and anti-Sri Lanka agenda of New Delhi whom politics and sports make no difference. And India seems determined to sabotage South Asian peace by terrorizing the cricket teams which intend to visit Pakistan.
If non-state actors are problem for New Delhi, these take origin from its own state terrorism, being perpetrated on minorities and the freedom fighters of its six states, fighting for independence. Indian brutal tactics of state terrorism, employed on the innocent persons in the Indian-occupied Kashmir might be noted as special example in this context. In such a situation, New Delhi should not have seek revenge against Pakistan and Sri Lanka by conducting terrorist acts through RAW-trained agents in order to divert its attention from Indian home-grown terrorists. Facing reality, New Delhi must better unearth the forces behind the Mumbai attack and Lahore mayhem.
Notably, on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma revealed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws. But, Indian top officials and media had blamed Islamabad and a Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for those attacks.
Nonetheless, RAW terrorized Zimbabwe cricket team by threatening the latter to sabotage Pakistan’s tour, though this attempt badly failed.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations