The fault lines of our state are obvious. The privileged lot is either wilfully or by default ignorant. Some complain that people make racist jokes against ‘them’ and no one bats an eye. Others, have to face ever so slightly serious issues, like death, disappearances and systematic discrimination.
Why are we discussing state fault lines two days we have lost to India? Well, because new social media war is setting in, this time it’s Lahore vs. Karachi. The keyboard warriors after having won the wars against arch rivals (in their heads), have turned their guns towards each other. Sarfaraz’s identity is suddenly a mahajir. Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Imam ul Haq and Asif Ali are against the leadership of this mahajir. This took root after a voice note of former UBL big shot and uncle sitting in the passenger seat as Shoaib Malik drives the UBER car, accused Malik of as much. The voice statement was ridden with factual inaccuracies. But who has time to check?
But how did it come to this? Where did this debate originate? I have little doubt that we can award this one to the one and only Shoaib Akhtar. Back in 2018, after Pakistan lost the ODI series to New Zealand, he said something to this effect ‘Sarfaraz ko pata hona cahieye ye North Nazimabad ke team nahe hai, Pakistan ke team hai’. This was team management hadn’t picked Ahmed Shehzad. Since then the opener has gone on to lose his place in all three formats and was barely making the Quetta Gladiators team.
That comment and subsequent dumbfounding comments about Sarfaraz have continued from Shoaib Akhtar. Moin Khan retorted back, with a relatively sane statement advising Shoaib to relax. Now, former fast bowler, Tanvir Ahmed whose words flow faster than he could ever bowl has resorted to ugly commentary.
I am quite certain that the Rawalpindi express will make another below the belt comment about Sarfaraz or any other cricketer soon. That is how he remains the focus on media. But the poisoning that sets in, will take years to dilute. Pakistan, an inherently divided country joined together by an untested glue of religion can ill-afford such antics. But as long as Shoaib’s Youtube page gets clicks, who cares?