Is sport imitating life, or life imitating sport? How much did you pay for your ticket? And, perhaps the most important question of all, who’s going to win? As Asia’s goliaths of cricket square up on the pitch, the recent animosity and diplomatic tension between the neighbouring states has resulted in an almost hysterical atmosphere in the two countries. Public holidays have been declared, and ticket prices hiked to staggering sums on the black market. As we go to print (or screen) Pakistan have just started chasing India’s 260-9.
The two prime ministers will sit side by side for the first time since the Mumbai terror attacks took place in 2008, since when there has been a virtual paralysis in relations between the two states. Ahead of today’s match, the two countries agreed yesterday, to allow investigators to look into the Mumbai killings with the investigative teams, granted access to both countries. It is the start of repairing a rift, but as any cricket fan knows patience and endurance are what is called for and you can never take your eye off the ball.
Pakistan was not only a front page feature in the sports sections today. G2, the Guardian supplement, ran a very powerful feature on a rivalry which, whilst far less documented, is a great threat to Pakistan and comes from a neighbour within.
The feature article explores the alarming number of killings and abductions in Balochistan attributed to government forces in recent months. Killings which are going under the media radar for the most part.
Back in February Amnesty reported that in the previous four months, at least 90 Baloch activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers have disappeared or been murdered, many in ‘kill and dump’ operations, according to information we compiled. Declan Walsh reported that bullet-ridden bodies, most bearing torture marks, continue to be recovered across Balochistan.
It is a timely and powerful article, and a balanced one, which warns that armed Baloch groups have also been implicated in a surge in targeted killings of non-Baloch civilians and government employees, including teachers at government education institutions. Hundreds of teachers have fled the province as a result of these killings, bringing the education system to breaking point.
This is a frightening development in a volatile and strategically important part of Pakistan, nestled between Afghanistan and Iran, where anti-Pakistan fervour is escalating all the time. There is a sense that some long overdue attention must be directed on the region, from the media and the authorities, alike. You can read about Amnesty’s recommendations here.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.