Reported instances of Afghan hooliganism following Pakistan’s one-wicket win in Wednesday’s Asia Cup match against Afghanistan in Sharjah has left netizens sharply divided. While many censured the conduct of Afghan fans, others urged Pakistanis to introspect.
Videos featuring footage of Afghan fans vandalising the stadium and attacking Pakistanis are being circulated on social media.
Sharing a video of the incident, former Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Thursday said in a tweet that Afghan fans have done this in the past multiple times. He added that cricket was supposed to be played and taken in the right spirit.
This is what Afghan fans are doing.
This is what they’ve done in the past multiple times.This is a game and its supposed to be played and taken in the right spirit.@ShafiqStanikzai your crowd & your players both need to learn a few things if you guys want to grow in the sport. pic.twitter.com/rg57D0c7t8
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 7, 2022
Writer Shama Junejo urged the Abu Dhabi police to arrest Afghan fans who attacked Pakistan’s supporters. She asked them to be made an example so that no one could ever dare to attack in future.
@ADPoliceHQ please do arrest these Afghan hooligans who attacked Pakistani cricket team supporters and vandalised the stadium. They must be made an example that no one should ever dare to attack in future and stadiums must be a place of entertainment not fear. #PAKvAFG pic.twitter.com/Q095kHoZNA
— Shama Junejo (@ShamaJunejo) September 7, 2022
Bilal, a Twitter user, said the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) should ban Afghan fans from entering cricket stadiums.
Why don’t @ICC and @ACCMedia1 took notice of this incident? They should ban Afgan fans in the stadium anywhere in the world. This is a big question mark on the game of Gentlemen.#PakvsAfg #AsiaCup2022 https://t.co/VfIGvl183x
— bilal (@neemmolvi) September 7, 2022
Responding to a tweet ‘making sense’ of Afghan aggression, Uzair Younus said “Pakistanis and Indians” should attack British cricket spectators given how the English the colonists had looted India.
By that logic, Pakistanis and Indians should beat up and abuse British fans at cricket games because the colonists looted one of the world’s richest civilizations… https://t.co/J304X4AivG
— Uzair Younus عُزیر یُونس (@UzairYounus) September 8, 2022
Some, on the other hand, urged Pakistanis to introspect.
MNA Mohsin Dawar said using the pretext of a cricket match to hurl racist abuse at Afghans was “peak shamelessness”. He said Pakistan’s decades-old Afghanistan policy had stoked such a response. The MNA concluded his tweet by urging Pakistanis to “introspect”.
Using a cricket match as an excuse to hurl racist abuse against Afghans is peak shamelessness. Pakistan's decades old strategic depth policy and interventionist misadventures in Afghanistan is why Afghans have a problem with Pakistan. Introspect before belittling Afghans.
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) September 7, 2022
While author Ayesha Siddiqa categorically stated that such conduct must not be “condoned”, the scholar emphasised how Afghans must have felt about the treatment meted out to them since 1975.
So some Pakistanis are angry with Afghan behaviour in UAE. Not that the behaviour should be condoned but just think what the Afghans must have felt the way we treated them since 1975 – building as a nursery of terrorism & violence 4 strategic ends
— Ayesha Siddiqa (@iamthedrifter) September 7, 2022
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reportedly decided to take the matter to the International Cricket Council. Chairman Ramiz Raja said hooliganism was not something that was identified with cricket. He said “unpleasant visuals” vitiated the atmosphere need to conduct a good game (of cricket).
“Anything could have happened. The safety of our team could have been compromised, a protest will be lodged.” We will make the ICC cognisant of our “anguish and frustration” over the “deluge of poor conduct” witnessed in Sharjah, Raja said.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja comments on the crowd trouble in last night's match between Pakistan and Afghanistan.#AsiaCup2022 pic.twitter.com/CgUVJoMBkh
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 8, 2022