Ibrahim's dedication of the match to Afghan refugees

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Ibrahim's dedication of the match to Afghan refugees
 Ibrahim's dedication of the match to Afghan refugees

By Justice Markandey Katju

Afghanistan recorded a historic victory over Pakistan on 27th October in the World Cup 2023 cricket match played in Chennai

Afghanistan cricketer Ibrahim Zadran dedicated his Man of the Match award after Afghanistan's victory to the Afghan refugees being expelled from Pakistan.

More than 1.7 million undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan have been told by the Pakistan authorities to leave Pakistan by November 1st, a decision which the Afghanistan Govt has called unacceptable.

ManyPakistanis have criticised Ibrahim Zadran for his dedication, even calling him a 'Namak Haram', and saying he was introducing politics into a game.

I submit there was nothing wrong in what Ibrahim said.

Most of these Afghans who came to Pakistan came as poor refugees fleeing from a war torn country, which had been invaded by the Soviet Union, and thereafter by the Americans, and occupied for decades. Against the invaders the Afghans bravely fought a guerilla war, but millions had to flee to Pakistan, with only their clothes on their backs.

Many of the Afghans living in Pakistan have been living there for 40-50 years, and some of them, by hard work, built businesses and acquired property. They no doubt came without visas or other documentation, but how could poor refugees be expected to have them? To now ask them to leave, and without their properties, is inhuman. Where will they live, and what will do in Afghanistan? Except for sentimental affinity, they may be having no roots there, having migrated a long time back. Many may not even have been born there.

It is like asking Bangladeshi immigrants who came into Assam 40-50 years ago without documentation to leave Assam. Or like asking millions of Mexicans who came into USA decades ago without documentation to leave.

People who say that those who came illegally should leave must understand that this is not just a legal issue but also a humanitarian one, as explained in this article.

I can understand the feelings of Ibrahim Zadran in his heart when he learnt of the decision of the Pakistan Govt to expel his compatriots living in Pakistan, and I see nothing wrong in his dedication.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.) 

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