Mumbai: A few days ago, former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi stressed that Pakistani players were barred from taking part in the cash-rich league since 2009, but he didn't take any names as to whose diktat it was to disallow Pakistani cricketers in IPL.
Pakistani artists like Atif Aslam and Veena Malik stay in India perhaps more than they do in their own country for professional reasons but when it comes to cricket, Pakistanis don't seem to be welcome.
Interestingly, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood will figure in this year's IPL (he was bought by Kings XI Punjab in last week's auction in Bangalore) by virtue of his British passport and Wasim Akram made entry into the IPL as Kolkata Knight Riders' bowling coach.
Former Pakistan captain and coach, Javed Miandad is utterly disgusted by these so called double standards. "It is unfortunate that Pakistanis are treated like untouchables as far as IPL is concerned. My question is, who is to be blamed? Is it the BCCI or the Indian government? One should come clear on whose decision is this, otherwise the blame game would continue and Pakistani cricketers will be deprived time and again," Miandad told MiD DAY.
The fact that only cricketers are deprived from exhibiting their skills annoys Miandad even more. "Besides stars like Atif and Veena, I know many Pakistanis who visit India often and vice-versa, so why is there no transparency about participation in the IPL? We don't beg to play in the IPL, but at the same time, there shouldn't be such discrimination against a nation," Miandad said from Karachi.
When reminded about Mohammad Asif's positive dope test during inaugural IPL in 2008 and recent spot-fixing scandal that pushed Salman Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir behind the bars in England, Miandad felt these are stray incidents committed by individuals and his entire nation should not be held responsible.
"Mohammed Azharuddin was also banned for life (in the match-fixing scandal of 2000). He isn't a Pakistani. India or BCCI cannot be held responsible for the controversy he got into. There are individuals who tarnish the image of the sport and I feel they should be brought to book as individuals," the legendary batsman said.
Miandad though loved the sporting gesture shown by the Indian government during the India vs Pakistan ICC World Cup fixture in Mohali last year. "It was nice to see diplomats across the border greeting each other despite it being a high-voltage World Cup semi-final.
This again gives rise to the oddity that if we can carry on with our daily interaction, what is the hitch when it comes to IPL? Is it a handful of BCCI officials or the India government, who are behind this ban? Only the media can throw light on this and bring out the truth," he remarked.
To prove that his countrymen could display sportsmanship, Miandad turned back the clock to 2004 when India defeated Pakistan 2-1 in the Test series. "India played better and they beat us in our country. We all appreciated their performance and that's how it should be," he signed off.