Cricketer-turned-politician BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has reprimanded the influential team owners for the third Twenty-20 Indian Premier League for ‘denting the secular image of the country’ by way of ignoring Pakistani players in their team selection.
“I don’t know on whose instances they have done it, but, they have certainly created a room to cast aspersions on India’s secular image and Gandhian philosophy to view the world society without the discrimination of caste, colour and creed,” he said.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Sidhu urged the central government to intervene to defend the secular credentials of the country by directing the teams to chose a couple of Pakistani players for the IPL league.
“Being a cricketer I know the worth of Pakistani players. How could they leave out a versatile player like Shahid Afridi?” he questioned.
Sidhu said that cricket and culture were the only silver lines on the otherwise estranged bilateral relations of India and Pakistan. He said that at a time when government to government dialogue had no headway, it was only the cricket, which helped in breaking barriers between the SAARC giants.
He recalled with nostalgia that how the Pakistani citizens had showered affection and warmth towards them when, he in the capacity of commentator, accompanied Indian team to Pakistan in 2004 after a gap of 16 years.
Sidhu said that the formation of current IPL league teams would wrench the psyche of an ordinary Pakistani to the extent of rummaging justification into the anti-India activities being carried out by a selective few.