Former cricketer Javed Miandad has claimed he is ready for martyrdom amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan after the recent 'surgical strikes' by the Indian army across the border.
The Indian action was in response to an attack by heavily armed militants on an army base in Uri, in Indian-administered Kashmir, killing 18 Indian soldiers.
The standoff between the two countries has attracted comments from several sections, including former cricketers. Among them is Miandad who has spoken out against the Indian government claiming that every child in the country is ready for martyrdom.
Speaking on Pakistani news channel Samaa TV, Miandad said: "We are ready for martyrdom. Our nation cannot be cowed down by hollow threats."
However, this view is not shared by some of his countrymen, with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and all-rounder Shahid Afridi calling for resumption of cricketing ties between the two nations which they feel would help bring about peace.
"In the past also having cricket series helped reduce tensions and I firmly believe there should be cricket between the two countries," Ajmal said, as quoted by Firstpost. Former captain Shahid Afridi took to Twitter calling for a peaceful resolution between the two nations.
India suspended cricketing ties with Pakistan following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Pakistan, however, did tour India for a short One Day International bilateral series four years later in December 2012 but since then the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to entertain any thoughts relating to resumption of ties.
Anurag Thakur, president of the BCCI, recently confirmed that no cricket will be played between India and Pakistan as long as Pakistan 'continues to sponsor terrorism'. Thakur also claimed that the BCCI would request the International Cricket Council not to club the two countries in the same group for the 2017 Champions Trophy.
However, as things stand, India and Pakistan are drawn in the same group — Group B — for the 2017 Champions Trophy and are scheduled to face-off at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 4 June.