Pakistan has expressed deep concern over the flying of anti-Pakistan banners and unruly conduct of a certain group of spectators towards Pakistan team players and scuffles during the Pakistan-Afghanistan World Cup cricket match. The Foreign Office spokesperson said the use of sports venues for such malicious propaganda is unacceptable. He said Pakistan expects all relevant authorities, both sports and law enforcement, to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring those responsible to account. He said the matter is also being taken up through diplomatic channels. The British government has also strongly condemned the violence during the recent World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Leed’s at Headingley.
According to media report, a spokesman of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the British government was concerned by reports of violence between fans at the Pakistan-Afghanistan cricket match this weekend.
Footage has clearly shown fans, carrying flags of Afghanistan, setting upon Pakistani fans before start of the match and acts of violence after Pakistan won match against Afghanistan. A group of fans has been seen throwing punches at fans, throwing chairs, attacking violently and damaging public property including attacking security guards. The spokesman added that any evidence of criminal behaviour should be passed to the police who will investigate as appropriate. Replying to a question regarding Pakistan’s protest over a plane flying over the cricket pitch carrying political slogans to target Pakistan, the spokesman expressed concern and stressed that UK stood for Pakistan’s territorial integrity. A spokesman of the West Yorkshire Police confirmed that four arrests have been made of hooligans involved in violence at the match. In a statement, the police said it is continuing to investigate incidents of the day.
The violence and flying of anti-Pakistan banners during Pak-Afghan cricket match was unfortunate. It seems to be a part of preplanned campaign against Pakistan. Cricket is considered a game of gentleman and it should be cleaned from every type of politics and vested agendas. The only statement from foreign office to condemn this act will not be enough. Pakistan should strongly take up this issue with higher authorities of United Kingdom because it was not the first time when such malicious campaign had been launched. UK administration must ensure to stop utilization of its land against any sovereign state in pretext of freedom of expression.