Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Lahore outrage - It's just not cricket

The phrase "it's not cricket" entered the English language to signify an unfair or unsporting act. The attack on the Shri Lankan cricket team in Lahore was just that.

I do not want to comment on the complicated politics of the sub-continent. My concern with Mumbai was the risk that those in Pakistan who planned the attack with the probable aim of triggering military conflict between India and Pakistan might be successful.

I have a far simpler view on Lahore. I think that those involved have made a fundamental error of judgment. They are, in fact, bleeding idiots.

Cricket is a passion in Pakistan. The attack on the Shri Lankans placed the attackers and those who backed them outside the pale. In combination with Mumbai, the attack has changed the long term dynamics that had dominated sub-continent politics.

It will take a little while for this to work itself through. There is plenty of scope for things to go wrong. Some certainly will. However, the thing that stands out to me writing from distance is that the extremists have turned themselves into a common enemy, a common threat, to India and Pakistan.

The present may be messy. Track forward five years and there is a real chance that some of the most intractable problems in the relationships between India and Pakistan dating back to partition and before may now be soluble.

Postscript 5 March 09

There are all sorts of conspiracy theories running around on this one. In a comment, Ramana drew my attention to this one. I think it best to wait and see.

2 comments:

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

I could not agree more. I for one am convinced that the ramifications of this outrage will be very far reaching in the subcontinent's future.

For an interesting twist, you might like to read http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/opinion/04sethi.html?th&emc=th

Neil said...

You, Ramana and I are pretty much in accord.