Monday, June 19, 2017

How Pakistan's army is politicizing Champions Trophy win

Pakistan's army took to Twitter aggressively on Sunday to politicise the Pakistani cricket team's win against India in the Champions Trophy final.

It also announced 'umrah' for the cricket team, underlining the significant role that both religion and the army play in the country's body politic. (Umrah is a non-mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca.)

Throughout the duration of the match on Sunday, It appeared that for the Pakistani army, the Champions Trophy final was indeed "war minus the shooting", to borrow a phrase from cricket writer Mike Marqusee.

On Sunday, not only did the Pakistani army's media unit flood its Twitter account with pictures of soldiers and various army personages watching the match, it then quoted its army chief Qamar Bajwa describing the team as one that is "against every threat".

To be clear, Bajwa was talking about his country's cricket team and not its notorious Border Action Team which is responsible for cross-border attacks, mutilation of Indian soldiers' bodies and raids across the Line of Control.

There's more.

The army's media unit then painted the Pakistani cricket team as one that along with the "valiant soldiers of Pakistan" and the "nation" would "defend Pak against all threats our enemies hatch."

Again, this was a cricket win that was being described.

Then, the media unit - called Inter-Services Public Relations - posted a photo, purportedly of people watching the match in Balochistan, with a caption that said "lay off".

No comments: