March 30th, 2011 – a day that goes into history to mark another cricket game when India upheld it’s record of defeating Pakistan in the Cricket World Cups; this match being of the highest level so far!
Like my fellows, I am sad that Pakistan didn’t win the semi-final today. But I am also a proud Pakistani today. In times when Pakistanis find themselves divided on the basis of religion, culture, ethnicity, cast, provincial boundaries, language – you name it – I am proud of the nationalism that surfaced, submerging all these differences, during the course of this World Cup. We all prayed, cheered, chewed our nails, cried and laughed together as our beloved team went through one hurdle after the other. If cricket is the platform that will bring us closer to each other, let it be so.
Reflecting back on our defeat to Australia in the 1999 World Cup final, where it seemed like the entire country was after the players’ throats , I am proud of our sentiments towards our team today. We are proud of our team for doing their best and making it to the semis, amid all the politics and scandals that seem to be inherent in Pakistani Cricket. We are grateful to our team for giving us a reason to stand united, to smile, to bask in glory and to boast of being Pakistanis. And I, being a Pakistani, am proud of my fellow Pakistanis who are welcoming back our warriors with open arms. From common man to the media, our attitude shows that we are maturing as a nation – we are learning not to pick and dwell on each others’ weaknesses and failures; we are learning to celebrate our achievements and encourage our fellows. And that is what makes me a happy Pakistani today.
There will be hundreds of more world cups and semi-finals – Pakistan will play some, win some and lose some. What’s important is that we don’t let our Pakistaniat die, and support our players, who love us as much as we love them.