Cricket, often regarded as a unifying force in Pakistan, has faced its share of controversies, and one that continues to mar its image is religious discrimination. Danish Kaneria, a former Pakistani cricketer, has been a vocal advocate against this issue. In a recent revelation, Kaneria shared a video from an old match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan that sheds light on the discrimination he endured during his cricket career in Pakistan.
Shoaib Akhtar’s Allegations
This issue first came to public attention when Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistani fast bowler, alleged that Kaneria had experienced religious discrimination at the hands of a few fellow cricketers. Akhtar claimed that some of his teammates were reluctant to even share a meal with Kaneria because of his Hindu faith. This revelation shocked many cricket enthusiasts, both in Pakistan and around the world, and cast a shadow over the nation’s cricketing fraternity.
Danish Kaneria Speaks Out
Kaneria, who has not shied away from discussing the discrimination he faced on account of his religion, once again opened up about this sensitive issue. He took to social media to share a video from a past cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In this video, Ahmed Shehzad is seen telling Tillakaratne Dilshan, “If you’re non-Muslim and you convert to Islam, no matter what you do in life, straight to Heaven.”
Dilshan, in response, stated, “Then be ready for the fire.” This exchange was a stark reflection of the religious tensions that had permeated the Pakistani cricketing landscape. Danish Kaneria captioned the video with a heartfelt message, “Be it the dressing room, the playground, or the dining table, this happened to me every day.”
The Persistent Issue of Religious Discrimination
The video shared by Kaneria serves as a potent reminder that religious discrimination was not merely a one-time occurrence but rather a persistent issue that he faced throughout his career. It’s important to emphasize that discrimination based on religion or any other factor has no place in the world of sports or in society at large.
The Pakistani cricketing community must come together to address and rectify this issue. The sport has the power to unite people across religious, cultural, and racial divides. In a country where cricket holds a special place in the hearts of its people, it is essential to ensure that every player, regardless of their faith, can pursue their passion without the fear of discrimination.
The recent video shared by Danish Kaneria once again brings to the forefront the issue of religious discrimination in Pakistan’s cricketing circles. It is high time for Pakistan’s cricketing authorities, fans, and players to take a stand against such discriminatory practices and promote inclusivity and unity in the sport. Cricket should be a symbol of pride for Pakistan, where talent and performance are the only factors that matter, irrespective of one’s religious beliefs. By addressing this issue, Pakistan can set a positive example for the world and ensure that its cricketing legacy is untarnished by discrimination.