Video statement by militants in Pakistan says highlighting Indian batsman’s qualities ‘is against our motherland’
Sachin Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from cricket this month, has been much praised in the Pakistani press
“There is an Indian player called Tendulkar. He is being showered with praises by Pakistani media and people,” said Shahidullah Shahid, the main spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), during a video appearance flanked by two gun-wielding, balaclava-wearing jihadis.
They already hate schoolgirl education activists and regularly issue statements against a government they are trying to topple. But now the Pakistani Taliban have found a new target for their anger: unpatriotic media admiration for the Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Lavish praise for the recently retired cricketer in the Pakistani press has so irritated the militant group that it has released a video ordering newspapers and TV stations to stop promoting him.
“Somebody should tell the media that Tendulkar may be a good cricketer but his qualities should not be highlighted because it is against the Pakistani nation and our motherland.”
Adding to TTP irritation is the terrible press the national team is currently enduring.
Although Shahid conceded there were problems with the team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, he demanded the media get behind the national team.
“No matter how bad a player Misbah-ul-Haq is, he must be praised,” Shahid said.
The captain has been much criticised for being a plodder at the crease, earning him the nickname “Tuk-tuk”.
The video is a highly unusual public intervention for a movement that usually restricts its statements to jeremiads against the government.
One of the last times it publicly objected to the work of journalists was in the aftermath of the botched assassination of the schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, which sparked an almost unprecedented, but relatively brief, surge of media criticism.
In recent weeks the Pakistani press has been full of articles about Tendulkar, who announced the end of his 24-year cricket career this month.
Dawn, the country’s most influential English-language paper, declared Tendulkar “the greatest postwar batsman to have played the game”.
“Tendulkar continued to rewrite the record books with his brilliant batting skills since making his debut against Pakistan in Karachi way back in 1989,” it said.
Posted By MANTOSH PAL