Everyone I talk to is coming unglued about what happened in yesterday’s Pakistan-India semi-final. It would seem as if we weren’t talking about a game of Cricket but something of an unfathomable gravity! Look, I’m a huge cricket fan. Bigger than most. And on certain days, I can get down about sports too. But come on. There’s nothing to feel particularly bad about. We started off in the World Cup ranked number 6 or 7 on the ICC One Day standings and finished the Cup with a Bronze (if there was one). Number three in a set of 12 isn’t all that big a disaster. And we do have those massive wins against both Sri Lanka and Australia to celebrate. All in all, a decent performance.
And in a certain way, I’m sort of glad we didn’t win. Before you pelt me with stones, let me tell you why I say this. We, as a nation, too often look for quick fixes and short-cuts; unsustainable immediate solutions to massive problems. I was told by so many that the reason we should have won the World Cup was so that our masses could be imbued with hope and hence forget the trials and tribulations of the recent past. Well, my friends, false hope is a dangerous drug because it lulls the senses into believing that things are better than they are and hence remedial action is not an immediate requirement. False hope kills. So yes, if a World Cup win would have enthused our fellow citizens in such a manner that they would have forgotten – even for a few weeks – the challenges that confront us, those that we must overcome, then I am glad we were not injected with this arsenic.
We have real achievements in areas that matter to the well being of our nation. We just need to pay closer attention to those. Why is it that a win over India in Cricket is more important than the fact that Audi are using a Pakistani company to do their simulated crash testing in Lahore? Why is a win in the World Cup more important than the fact that a Pakistani company produces the World’s #1 Blackberry Application? You get the drift. Are our heads screwed on straight and do we have our priorities in order? If we, as a nation, want to achieve greatness on the world stage it will not be via Cricket. It will be because we have educated our masses, we have invented something of economic and social significance, because we have grown our GDP rapidly, we have uplifted the conditions of tens of millions of Pakistanis and organized them into a middle class market or because we have built upon our missile program to become one of a handful of nations with the ability to launch our own satellites into orbit. Those are tangible, sustainable achievements which lead to long term prosperity and betterment. If we are going to be depressed or perturbed about something, it should be that we have not built our country to even .1% of its potential. If we are going to be upset and abusive towards someone, it should be towards ourselves for not doing all that we can do for Pakistan.
In the grand scheme of things, a World Cup win is immaterial. What matters is Pakistan. And if a World Cup win would have given us a false sense of accomplishment and taken our eye – even for a second – off the issues that are truly critical to Pakistan, then I am glad we didn’t win. Stop moping, stop feeling sorry for yourself over nothing, get on with today and do something GREAT for the country. Pakistan ZINDABAD!