Islamabad, Oct 24: “I want to dedicate this man of the match award to those who are sent back to Afghanistan from Pakistan,” these words from Ibrahim Zadran, the star player behind Afghanistan's historic win against Pakistan at the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, sparked scattered criticism and outrage among the many Pakistanis, who were already disappointed their team’s performance on the cricket field.
Zadran led the Afghan team to a massive victory against Pakistan on Monday night, scoring an unbeaten 87 and seeing through his team over the victory line, outplaying Pakistan in every field of play, chasing down a total of 283 runs through a thorough professional performance, stamping authority over one of the biggest upsets of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
While the comprehensive Afghan win over Pakistan angered many locals back home, the dedication of the man of the match award and the win to illegal Afghan nationals, being forced to leave Pakistan acted as fuel to the fire with many lashing out at Zardran for giving politically motivated statements from the cricket field.
Others vented out their anger by terming Afghans as “Namak Haram” (traitor).
Social media was put in motion with the hashtag #NamakHaram.
“Once a Namak Haram, always a Namak Haram”, said an angry netizen on X, sharing the video of Zadran.
“Have you ever dedicated any trophy to those who took care of 70 million Afghans for more than 4 decades since the 1980s?, ”stated another social media user.
“Double Standards Afghanistan cricket team player Ibrahim Zadran dedicating his Man of the Match Award to illegal immigrants being sent back to Afghanistan from Pakistan is a political statement on the field. Is ICC sleeping or do all the rules exist for Pakistan only?” one more user said.
ThePakistan government is currently in process of expelling over 1.7 million illegal afghan immigrants, back to Afghanistan.
The government has set a deadline of November 1 for all illegal immigrants to leave the country, threatening of a crackdown against all after the deadline is over.
Pakistan’s decision was refuted by UNHCR, which called on Islamabad to refrain from sending back illegal immigrants to Afghanistan.
It maintained that no refugee can be forced to leave unless they want to leave themselves.
The UNHCR also highlighted that illegal immigrants usually escape their home countries amid fears of persecution, and do not necessarily have documents with them to register themselves as refugees in any other country.
The UN body offered to assist Pakistan in registering the illegal immigrants and bring them under the refugee status.
However, the Pakistan government has insisted that it would not back out from its decision and would initiate a crackdown against all illegal immigrants after November 1 and hand them over to Afghan Taliban regime.
Pakistan maintains that the surge in terrorism has had its links with the illegal immigrants in the country, which is why all illegal immigrants needs to leave.
Experts say that the decision has put lives of over 1.7 million population of families, young girls and children at stake as they are forced to go back to a country they fled.