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Af-Pak Cricket Match: Emotions Against Logic

There are two kind of people when it comes to personality. The first category belongs to an unannounced clan of emotionally severe ones who formulate their opinions based on the face value, and their emotional stimulus. The second class, found rarely these days, is the one who is used to of evaluating each matter in contrast to the available associated historical facts and figures. It’s an easy task being the first one, as it doesn’t require any hard work – or actually any work at all – for all you have to do is to let your adrenaline rush across your veins and come up with a mindset, that usually goes rigid enough not to think twice or three times before concluding anything. Once one attains mindset as such, it becomes rule of thumb not to review your ideologies and thoughts periodically since it again requires some additional work to be done, that is considered as de-facto pain in the ass. We are lazy to our cores, but sluggishness as such influences us not as an individual but rather as a nation.

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I believe life is not settled in black or in white rather it lies somewhere in grey. We had a high stakes Cricket match against Afghanistan yesterday that we managed to win somehow. It was a good match, for a feeble Afghan side gave a former world champion tough time, and dragged the game to last part where we won miraculously and resumed our way forward. As far as Afghan part is concerned, it should have been yet another game that they could have won or lost, just like any other game played in the world. Facts, however, remained not that simple by the end of that game. Afghans, in conjunction with their Indian romance, started establishing a virtual hype, specifically on Social Media being an easy battleground to showcase the associated whims. Pakistanis, acting so innocent, ignoring the past we have had with Afghans, started responding in the same fashion mocking their devastation and reminding them of their two generations using Pakistan as a basecamp to grow. Newton once established a universal fact regarding an action and an equal opposite direction. This show of emotional mess can be presented as classic example of Newtonian facts, applied at behavioral level. You might be of opinion that things are as simple as Afghans provoking us Pakistanis (action) and we responding them back reminding our help back in past and abusing them back for being disloyal to the nation who fed them (reaction). The question is, are things really that simple? Well, I believe that’s not the case.

Why would an average Afghan try to bash a neighborhood Pakistani without any solid reason, or no reason at all? The answer is, because we have a history with Afghans, a real complex and long history, spanned across decades on timeline. Actually, we do have a history with each neighbor we are blessed with, but Afghanistan one is most unstable, and have high spikes throughout times. Let’s not travel back in time too far, just evaluate the recent most adult generation in their 30s, say the one who were playing against us yesterday, and the ones most of which was involved in Social Media since many days.

This generation was either born in Pakistan or was forced to migrate to Pakistan when Afghan Jihad started. Afghan Jihad itself is subject of many and many books, and is beyond the scope of this article, so I would rather skip that part and continue straight towards logical explanation of behavior we witnessed recently. Even without analyzing it and blaming either of the parties, we can safely come up with a fact that it really made two generations suffer tragically. The generation under discussion found itself in a state of turmoil, with no homeland, not living in a state they can call their own, in a fragile economical as well as social state. As a Pakistani, I am unable to ignore the role – positive or negative – in Afghan mess. We were physically involved in the battle, adversely impacting a normal Afghan citizen. Yes, we provided them a shelter to migrate in, but did we deliver them the international humanitarian aid as is, without any corruption from within our ranks? And even if we did, what made these Afghans indulged in beggary and street crimes when – assuming the fact we handed them over all the aid we received in their names – they were already supposed to have easy money?

I have been raised in Peshawar, and hence stayed there between 1985 and 2003. We used to own a house with two portions, one of them was rented to Afghan families (plural ‘families’ because single family couldn’t afford 2500 PKR a month). The only working hand, a young man named Mirawas, used to be in Singapore and worked in a carpet shop there. The family had nothing to do except for preparing one carpet a month for export. I bet there are hardly much people external to KPK who are aware of the turmoil Afghans used to be in when they were here in Pakistan. The state had its own limitations while supporting them, and we all know this. Who, however, will realize the strategic flaw to welcome countless number of Afghans in Pakistan, without making a systematic arrangement to enable them feed their families by own?

Do you think they were given equal respect and zero discrimination while they were legal or illegal immigrants in Pakistan? Never! Afghans were treated as second class citizens. Refrigerators were a luxury in remote areas of Peshawar back then. Afghan kids, as I have witnessed myself in my childhood, used to beg for ice in hot summers. They were equally humans but not equal humans in our lands. Foreign aid for them used to be sold in Peshawar (and may be in many other areas of Pakistan). USAID oil was cheaper than the other oil brands there. The net result of all of the mismanagement, corruption and macro level errors was that they were not accepted as genuine work force at our workplaces. They were discouraged usually in our businesses (yes, many exceptions are there but in general the statement remains valid). They had to feed their families, so they started either begging for money and food or by taking part in street crimes. And hence they became even more villainous. Yes, there used to be one large Afghani’s house in more or less every area, but there used to be a large Afghan immigrants bases slum nearby. Why is that? Because not everybody migrating was suffering through same poverty. They had rich and they had poor. The same was reflected when they reached our lands.

I had my education from KPK, and I have been to Kabul for a short time. I have seen people with tears in their eyes remembering what was done to their loved ones. Hate it or love it, we had a role in there. Even if it is a misunderstanding, or say an incorrect narrative, we need to realize this is what Afghans have been told. This is what they believe in. They believe in our negative role consequence of which was their generations getting dislocated from where they were living.

We believe what happened the other day at stadium and outside stadium, and on Social Media was an action we reserved a right to respond to. We must review our opinion. It was a reaction to an endless chain of events. We are paying back for what we did decades earlier. Please go through Kim Barker or Mullah Abdussalam Zaeef. Watch Charlie Wilson’s War, a movie to help understanding the subject matter at macro level. We were used for an American Cold War. Afghans are just repeating the same this time, but from their end, which is equally wrong. 

We have majority of masses in first category, i.e. those who formulate their point of view based on their emotions. We have severe dearth of logical folks across any border in major parts of Middle East, and South East Asia. This is the reason of all our sufferings. Our emotions surpass our logic, and hence we suffer. It is time to control our emotions and rely more and more on logic, facts and figures.

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