Hundreds of millions in both countries continue to suffer from poverty, ignorance, disease, and disasters. Yet not many of them come out when undemocratic decisions are made, especially when it is about cricket – the opium of the Indo-Pak region.
PROMISED LAND FOR CRICKETERS, A RIDICULE OF DEMOCRACY
by Karim Khan
In May 2009, the Punjab government shocked over a million people out of their senses by announcing a scheme for building a national park on land stretched over more than 200 villages, occupied mostly by poor inhabitants who were to be driven out of their homes by government orders and left with a nominal sum of money by the government to find somewhere else to live, if they could.
This expansionist plan of the government was busted by the popular TV show News Beat which revealed the horrors of the oppressive plan meant to serve the ‘hunting’ penchant of the political leader of PML-N. After the media reported the plan, Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, sensing the stormy protests that were coming by the enraged poor people, quickly announced the withdrawal of the plans. And now another great ‘prize scheme’ by Mr. Sharif. Hundreds of acres of cultivable land in Punjab will be awarded to players of the Pakistani cricket team in case they beat the traditional rival India in the quarter final match of the Cricket World Cup 2011!
The news of Mr. Sharif’s announcement has been included today in some Pakistani and lots of Indian media today. In a news conference held yesterday, Mr. Sharif was quoted as saying “My government will give 25 acres of fertile land to each member of the team as a prize if they beat India. This in a province where a series of suicides due to extreme poverty have already shaken the conscience of the nation, though not of the Punjab government, simply because the latter doesn’t have any such thing. This is the government that has been elected by the votes of the millions of people in the province who expect their elected leaders to provide them relief from their sufferings. And this ‘democratic’ is proving its democratic spirit by openly violating public’s right to earn bread for their children from fertile land, which may be thrown into the possession of rich players who are paid handsomely whether or not they perform well. Is this government democratic? If yes, then it’s ridiculously so.
Both Indian and Pakistani media have created a senseless hype about a cricket match, making it sound like it’s another decisive war if the Kargil fiasco was not enough. Hundreds of millions in both countries continue to suffer from poverty, ignorance, disease, and disasters. Yet not many of them come out when undemocratic decisions are made, especially when it is about cricket – the opium of the Indo-Pak region.
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