Pakistan played India in a Semi-Final of a cricket World Cup a couple of days ago and lost for the 5th consecutive time. I expected some pissed off fans. I anticipated emotional crowds desperately waiting at the airport to hurl all sorts of things at their cricket team. I pictured Pakistanis (including myself) venting out their anger at people around them. I looked forward to the Pakistani media channels and news anchors bashing the cricket team. I also imagined Pakistani cricket pundits putting all sorts of accusation on the team. Yet time has passed on rather merrily and I haven’t witnessed any of this happening. You ask, ‘how is it possible?’ Well, this time there was a victory in our defeat.
This victory in a defeat was a victory because Pakistan team surpassed many expectations and reached so far. It was a victory of unity. It was also a victory of passion. It was a victory of all the prayers for which so many hands had been raised in synchronization. It was a victory of Pakistan-India friendship. It was a victory of sportsmanship but most importantly it was a victory for Pakistan!
For the first time in my life, I saw Pakistanis from all walks of life put their backgrounds aside- be it religion, sect, ethnicity, social standing – united in support of their cricket team. For the first time, I could tell neither the difference between the smile of a roadside seller and a wealthy businessman nor could I distinguish the reasons for their tears shed. For the first time, I couldn’t tell apart one Pakistani from another. All of them were united for one cause. All of them shared the same dream. All of them wished for the same result.
For the first time, I saw a Pakistani captain apologize to his nation when he didn’t have to. For the first time I saw the Pakistani team warmly congratulate their counterparts. For the first time, I saw a Pakistani leader take the responsibility. For the first time I saw such Jazba in my people. For the first time, I saw my team try so hard. When Michael Montaigne said “There are some defeats more triumphant than victories”, he couldn’t have thought of a better occasion to say it than this.