The writing on the wall


Perpetually hungry for solid entertainment, cricket aficionados have, year after year, filled stadiums, cheered their favourite teams and made the Pakistan Super League a roaring success. Tugging at the heartstrings of the entire nation, the impressive cricket carnival encourages the fans, players, franchise owners and broadcasters to keep coming back for yet another dose of riveting cricket. Perhaps, not this time. Catches are being dropped by every team as not a lot of spectacular innings are in sight.
With the absence of most top-of-the-order cricketers, all that’s left for commentators is to fish for weak parallels and let the glitz of the entertainment industry make do for the sake of transmissions. The ninth instalment appears to be headed towards a downhill. The fact that organisers also chose to take on an extremely sensitive issue of Palestine to rubberstamp their policing of expression despite Pakistan’s repeated attempts at leading a Palestine-centric movement on the international stage had already riled many people, leading to calls for protests and boycotts.
Ergo, the deployment of at least one thousand security personnel to ensure a “law and order situation” during the Karachi leg of the marquee event is bound to stir the pot one last time. Although the official statement from the Government of Sindh laid great emphasis on unobstructed roads and interest in public convenience, these stringent security measures have, in the past, drawn heavy criticism on social media.
Why should thousands of spectators be forced to endure long queues to show to the world that Pakistan is not a lost cause and can still hold sporting events? Wouldn’t true optimism only hold ground when PSL matches were treated like an ordinary day for those who wished to go about their own way and fans were facilitated as they approached venues, sat on their seats and enjoyed the show?
Had the cricket board and the sponsors learned to read the writing on the wall, they would have waived the special instructions about “posters, banners, or placards, depicting religious, political, or racial discrimination” or worded it slightly better to send the right message. After all, if fans (and even players) are free to show their love and solidarity for a country and its people in other parts of the world, why should Pakistan be any different?