Pakistani sports suffered a massive setback at the hands of terror-related activities carried out all across the country. However, security forces launched a major drive against the terrorists in 2014 and managed to pulverize them to liberate the country from this menace once and for all. From the stand point of a sports lover, we can say, the Pakistani security agencies paved the way for the restoration of the sports culture in the country but, ironically, nothing has been restored as yet. What could be the major cause behind this, let’s discuss.
On the surface, we have a vibrant media which is there to highlight the issues of national interest, like sports, but the reality is quite different. Most of the anchors hired by Pakistani news channels, seem to me, are semi-literate and have very little cognizance of the world beyond Pakistani politics.
The main purpose of media is to draw government attention towards public issues but a person with the acumen of a Pakistani news host would never realise this. For instance, Pakistan Television, our national asset, took a nose dive during PML-N tenure but I never saw any TV host asking any question relating to PTV from their info ministers, Pervaiz Rashid and Marriyum Aurangzeb. Pakistani media kept presenting Mr Rashid as a thorough “gentleman” despite his disastrous performance in the office. This is utterly disgusting and shameful that they weren’t even aware of the fact that a minister is always responsible for the performance of their ministry.
Coming back to sports, the largest chunk of the blame lies at the door of the news hosts who can never be educated on the significance of sporting activities. Even if you try to explain them, almost all of them, will give you a vacuous stare as if they are aliens who have just arrived from Mars. India and Pakistan are taking on each other in the Davis Cup tie and Indian tennis team is scheduled to visit Pakistan after a 55-year delay but despite my best efforts I couldn’t find even a single prime time show discussing the prospects of holding a successful event in the country despite the fact that it would have multiple dimensions and advantages.
Hosting India in any sport under the prevalent circumstances could open the door for the restoration of sporting activities between the two arch-rivals and would also make way for the revival of international sports in Pakistan. Not just this but will bring to life the rickety sports industry which is gasping for survival. Importance of news show hosts has been blown out of proportion by the successive Pakistani governments as they take them as the most effective way to communicate with the general public.
It occurs to me as if they are the ones who are in the saddle and acquired such “magical” powers that they can create an issue out of nothing and can very easily drop an iron curtain on any serious issue. The most ironic part of this episode is that people with elementary knowledge and understanding are writing the national destiny.
Pakistan is currently ranked below 200 in the world and the state of affairs at PFF is simply scummy while those related to soccer federation are bearing financial losses as well. In 2018 Hockey World Cup, the Pakistani team finished embarrassing 12th but Pakistani media was happy to sit and take the humiliation, as they always do. Pakistan kabaddi team was chucked out of the world cup in 2016 for political reasons, thanks to Pakistani media, one felt as if Samoa was thrown out of curling world cup.
Indian tennis team is visiting Pakistan after 55-year to play Davis Cup tie in September and Pakistani media’s silence on this is deafening. I thought they would be discussing the prospects of holding a successful event in the country but they proved me wrong. Pakistan doesn’t have proper tennis stadiums, just courts with temporary seating arrangements. Any sensible media would have raised these issues the moment these Davis Cup draws were announced a and Pakistani authorities must have enough time to slap together some form of a construction around a grass court which could have accommodated decent number of Indian and Pakistani fans.
Another point of discussion must have been about issuance of special visas for the Indian tennis fans as revival of inertial Indo-Pak sports must have been the deal game changer for the entire South Asia. Since Pakistan media men can’t fathom the significance of sports, let them die a slow painful death and the message to the players and the workers is that they have chosen wrong field for bread earning, so keep paying the price and your lives and deaths don’t matter much. And a message for sports fans is that whenever you feel humiliated by Pakistani defeats learn to stomach it they way your anchors are doing. Sports in Pakistan can’t improve until we educate Pakistani media on sports and the reality is that easier than this is to educate a crocodile how to fly.