"India's Osama", Dawood Ibrahim threatens future of Pak cricket
Sydney/Karachi, Dec.16 (ANI): The alleged presence of Dawood Ibrahim, the man who masterminded the 1993 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and is said to have also played a role in last month's attacks on the same city, is threatening the future of cricket in Pakistan.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ibrahim is being dubbed as "India's Osama", and threatens to destroy any remaining hope Pakistan cricket has of re-emerging by dismantling the crucial relationship between the boards of Pakistan and India.
Ibrahim, a notorious gangster who reputedly funds his terrorist activities through a billion-dollar drug trade in Afghan opium.
He is associated with Pakistan cricket's director general, Javed Miandad, through the marriage of his daughter Mahrukh to Junaid, son of the batting legend.
The Indian Government is demanding that Pakistan hand over Ibrahim, who is believed to have hidden himself in luxurious palaces for 15 years in the world's second-largest Muslim nation.
India suggests that Pakistan is actively involved in shrouding Ibrahim and - retaliatory or not - cricket has become a pawn in the game.
Once Pakistan's most powerful and important supporter, India is threatening to pull out of a tour starting later this month.
"If India doesn't tour, it will be a total disaster for Pakistan cricket," said former PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.
"It's very important for cricket, not just in Pakistan but in the world, for India to come. If they don't, it would relegate Pakistan further into isolation. If India doesn't come, I can't see New Zealand coming even though their tour is at the end of next year. Australia is supposed to tour in April but I can't see that happening. Unfortunately, this Mumbai thing has triggered a political dimension," he added.
India's sports minister, MS Gill, asked: "Is it possible for one team [the terrorists] to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?"
Having been ousted by the recently appointed regime, Naghmi - now working for the Pakistan government - also sees worrying trends from the new board, including the ravaging of domestic programs designed to improve the skills of youngsters.
Another source said PCB chairman Ijaz Butt lacks the skills to handle the crisis.
Pakistan, as a cricket destination, has already lost the faith of the west. To lose that of India would be paralyzing. (ANI)
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