Former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi left Imran Khan-led Pakistan government red-faced after he said his country can’t handle Kashmir. The former Pakistani all-rounder, known as Boom Boom, embarrassed his country while speaking at House of Commons in London. He said Pakistan has failed to properly control its 4 provinces – Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan,Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hence it should not care for Kashmir. Afridi’s comment comes at a time when hundreds of activists hold anti-Pakistan protest outside the UN as a mark of protest against the brutal killing of Sindhi and Baloch freedom fighters by the Pakistani security forces. However, it is not the first time that Shahid Afridi has expressed his views on Kashmir. The former cricketer had earlier urged the United Nations to intervene in Kashmir to stop the killing of Kashmiris, triggering firm reactions from Indian cricketers.
In April 2018, all hell broke loose on Twitter after Afridi extended his support to the people of Kashmiri on social media and urged the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies to take notice of the Indian Army action and help the defenceless civilians at the hands of Indian military. Afridi’s tweet stirred a mild storm in the Indian media, which launched a campaign against the Pakistani cricketer. TV channels in the country attacked Afridi, saying his tweet in favour of Kashmiris was tantamount to insult on India. Team India player Gautam Gambhir and a parody account of Ravindra Jadeja tried to fire broadside at the Pakistani pinch-hitter.
Last month, Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, had condemned the killings of Kashmiris, saying that India must resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue in compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions. He further added that wishes of Kashmiri people should be respected.
Responding to Imran Khan’s remarks, the Ministry of External Affairs, in its official statement, had said that remarks by Pakistan Prime Minister were deeply regrettable. The foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said that the leadership in Pakistan should look inwards and address its own issues since Kashmir is an integral part of the country.
In September, a scheduled meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Mahmood Shah Qureshi was called off by Indian side citing killings of its security personnel by Pakistan based entities. The meeting was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of United Nations General Assembly in New York.