Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid declaring Pakistan’s T20 win against India a victory for Islam has left a bad taste in the celebratory air after Pakistan cricket team’s astounding performance on Sunday.
In a video message, Rashid congratulated the Pakistan cricket team for their laud worthy performance. He added that the world’s Muslims, including those in India, stood with the Pakistan cricket team, who had achieved a big win for Islam worldwide. The federal minister finished his video by chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad, Islam Zindabad’.
پاکستان انڈیا میچ ٹکرا:
پاکستانی کرکٹ ٹیم اور عوام کو مبارکباد پیش کرتا ہوں.https://t.co/Tc0IG0n2DJ@GovtofPakistan @ImranKhanPTI #PakvsIndia pic.twitter.com/e9RkffrK2O
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) October 24, 2021
Legal advisor Reema Omer said that Rashid’s statement lacked poise in the wake of victory, adding that his words were ‘dangerous and divisive’. Omer furthered that Rashid’s words were especially problematic at a time when a Muslim Indian player, Mohammad Shami, faced Islamophobic abuse in India.
What a dangerous, divisive statement by the Interior Minister, esp. when the one Muslim player in Indian team is being subjected to vicious abuse, his loyalty to India being questioned because of his religion
Certain ministers are incapable of showing grace in victory, it seems https://t.co/5Gi2wzPLBL
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) October 25, 2021
Journalist Mahwash Ajaz said that Rashid shook the stable grounds on which Pakistan India stood in the aftermath of India’s defeat. Ajaz wondered who would give Rashid the mic to make such an undignified remark from the winning side.
Sheikh Rasheed will take away any class Pakistanis have in victory or in defeat. Why, why, why do we allow him to get the mic when we’re already on good footing?
— Mahwash Ajaz 🇵🇰 (@mahwashajaz_) October 25, 2021
A Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) social media team member Amjad Zardari questioned where Islam crept into sports from. Zardari said that cricket teams from other Muslim countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia did not credit Islam but their respective cricket teams when they won matches.
Where did #Islam come from in the match between two nations.
When UAE, Saudi and other Arab countries win any match they never attribute their win with Islam but their own respective nation.
Sheikh Rasheed should stop this nonsense. https://t.co/3VZ8Xtd6YC
— Amjad Zardari (@AmjadAZardari) October 25, 2021
Journalist Shiraz Hassan added onto Zardari’s words and said that Rashid should refrain from such absurdities and keep sports free from politics and religion.
‘Congratulations to whole Muslim community around the globe’ – This is quite an absurd statement by interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed. Keep politics and religion out of cricket please pic.twitter.com/qggRqIQd4W
— Shiraz Hassan (@ShirazHassan) October 25, 2021
An academic, Kamran Malik said that such a statement from the federal minister was ‘careless and irresponsible’. He wondered whether Rashid would congratulate Pakistani Hindus if India won later.
باقی میچوں کی بھی شیخ رشید کی پہنچ سے دور رکھیں
Such a stupid, irresponsible, careless statement from a federal minister. How could he congratulate Indian Muslims on Pakistan victory. Is he going to sympathise with Pakistani Hindus too on Indian defeat? https://t.co/twnYslgNsS
— Kamran Malik (@Kamran_KIMS) October 25, 2021
A user apologized to Indian Muslims for Rashid’s statements and said that matches were not played between religions but countries.
Sorry @ShkhRasheed but you are utterly and grossly wrong on this. Cricket matches are played among nations and not among religious groups. I apologize to Indian Muslims for this ridiculous statement from our federal minister. In 🇵🇰 No one takes him seriously. #PAKvIND https://t.co/kL0LU6XMau
— Saweel (@saweelrathore) October 25, 2021
In his video, Rashid also said that he ordered containers be cleared for Pakistanis to celebrate victory over their rivals with ease. He lamented that he couldn’t be in Dubai to witness the match himself.
Pakistan beat India in a landmark victory in the T20 match on Sunday by 10 wickets. Pakistan made 152 runs, with 13 balls remaining to boot. The men in green emerged triumphant in their 13th attempt to defeat India in the T20 series. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were the only batsmen on the field who completed the runs required to win, while Shaheen Afridi became the Man of the Match for his bowling prowess.