Saturday, February 16, 2008

To Tour or Not To Tour

For all that has been going on in Pakistan recently, the right things are getting the least attention. I am referring to the elections which are due to be held on Monday. Pakistan has been in the news for bombings, assassinations, dictatorial brouhaha and a variety of other despicable and deplorable reasons - it really is a pity. But when I talk to people back home (and will soon experience myself during my up coming vacation) the biggest concern is the lack of natural gas for heating, the frequent power shortages and the hiked up prices for basic food items such as flour, eggs and vegetables. Sure, the security situation is not good, but in Maslow's hierarchy or basic needs food, shelter and personal comfort ranks up there with security.

Which of these issues are the Australians likely to be thinking about right now? Are they thinking about the elections to be held soon? Or are they worried about getting blown up? are they going to wait and see and pull out at the last moment?

I know that there are no guarantees for anything - and that security is an impossible thing to guarantee. For all you know a piano could fall from above (as it does in cartoons) while you have 'VIP level' security around you. I agree that the security situation in Pakistan is not great at the moment, but cricket should not be made to suffer. The people of Pakistan are desperate for some entertainment and what better entertainment than some high quality cricketing action? I know this isnt an easy decision, but I would encourage the Aussies to think long and hard about any decision they make. Despite what the media portrays the situation to be and the reality on the ground, we must not let the terrorists dictate terms - life must go on and so must cricket

Make a tough decision, leave the security to the experts and play some cricket. My vote lies with Kamran Abbasi, though I dont agree with his whole elaborate rich vs poor philosophy.

What do you think?

Make your pitch on this post...

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5 Pitched:

  1. Jrod said...

    I believe i said this a while ago.

  2. David Barry said...

    In the second half of 2007, over 400 people were killed in Pakistan from 14 separate suicide bombings. Another 37 were killed in the latest bombing.

    Human risk assessment is a long way from rational - you're more likely to die in a car crash in Pakistan than die by suicide bombing (just under 5000 police-reported road fatalities in 2006). But there's some primal fear associated with terrorism that just doesn't happen with car crashes - I've heard it suggested that when we have some partial control over the situation (such as when driving a car), our minds drastically reduce the perceived risk. Suicide bombers are outside our control, and so we're terrified of them, even though the real risk, even in Pakistan's current climate, is about five times smaller than driving.

    So, from a purely rational perspective, the Australians should tour. But I wouldn't want to go to Pakistan right now (I don't even drive...), and I wouldn't expect Australia's cricketers to. The fear's too great.

  3. Q said...

    Yes u did Uncle J. You were the first to say it. Kamran Abbasi did so on valentines day and Obaid has just started the debate here on wellpitched.

    Its picking up now because news has been coming in during the last week that Australia are definitely not coming even though one more security check is left to be done once the elections are over.

    David you are right - with the elections happening next week even I wouldn't want to go back home. But we're talking here about a visit a month after the elections are over.

    There may be a lot of unrest in the country next week during the elections. The effects will remain for another week after the elections but after that the country shud go back to being normal. Or as normal as it has been when bombs have been going off.

    As Uncle J mentioned in his post, the Ashes were going on when a few terrorists blew up tubes and trains across London. No one said anything.

    No cricketers or sportsmen have ever been targeted in Pakistan and they never will be cos when a cricket match is going even the terrorists are watching.

    South Africa, India, England and others have all accepted the PCB's word regarding the security situation and so shud the Aussies.

    Maybe now that the Lalit Modi and Rajiv Shukla have urged the Aussies to tour may put some pressure on them.

    I think more than being scared of being blown up the Aussies are more concerned with the suffocation of being surrounded by armed security guards 24/7, not being able to raom around freely, no night clubs or bars to go to to relieve tension, and so on.

  4. David Barry said...

    I generally agree that there's a bit of a double-standard at play with regards to the London bombings in 2005. If the Australian team were already in Pakistan, and there were two bombings in two weeks, would they stay? I don't know.

    If there had been fifteen suicide bombings in England in eight months killing around 500 people, would Australia tour England? I don't know either. The level of terrorism in Pakistan today is far higher than even the most intense period of the IRA bombings (in terms of deaths, not individual bombs), so I'm not sure if the IRA is a fair comparison.

    Cricketers may never have been targeted in Pakistan, but I don't think would have calmed the New Zealand cricketers who had a bomb go off outside their hotel and kill 14 people in 2002.

    (And people were saying things around the time of the London bombings. Everyone seemed reasonably sure that the cricket would go on, but there were certainly questions asked and a short period of uncertainty.)

    I still think the irrational fear in people is reasonable though. "Sure, there might be a hundred people killed this week, but in a month it'll be all right" isn't particularly reassuring.

  5. Q said...

    "If the Australian team were already in Pakistan, and there were two bombings in two weeks, would they stay? I don't know"

    They definitely would not have David.

    The statement that you mention is not reassuring David, I think should be reassuring. The reason I say that is because all the Paki expats in the Middle East who had travel plans during this week have postponed it by 2 weeks and that is only because there is a general belief that things will calm down.

    If the Aussie tour was scheduled during Feb I would have been with them in their fear of going to Pak. No wise man would visit the country during this week. The people living in Pak are praying that this week goes by fast so they can return to their normal lives.

    Everyone knows that once the elections are over, things will be alrite and if the PCB is also assuring that, CA ought to trust them.

    And again as I said, he terrorists will be busy watching cricket and not planning any attacks during that time :-)

    Oh and that attack during the NZ tour - it wasn't a terrorist attack, it was a mafia war...but either way I understand what ur saying..

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