The storm over Afridi’s tweet
On tweeting about the recent casualties in Kashmir, Shahid Afridi recieved all sorts of reactions from different directions
It all started when deadly protests and fierce fighting killed 16 combatants (3 Indian soldiers and 13 suspected militants), along with four civilians, in Indian-Occupied Kashmir.
Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria called on National Security Adviser (NSA) Retired Lt General Nasser Khan Janjua to discuss the recently worsening situation in Kashmir; and both envoys agreed that the two counties had great potential to improve their relations, and cater to each other’s needs.
A day after this meeting, former Pakistan cricket team captain, Shahid Afridi, used his Twitter account to highlight the Kashmir issue, and call out for a solution.
Appalling and worrisome situation ongoing in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.Innocents being shot down by oppressive regime to clamp voice of self determination & independence. Wonder where is the @UN & other int bodies & why aren't they making efforts to stop this bloodshed?
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) April 3, 2018
As expected, the tweet was met with mixed reactions from both sides of the border.
On one end, when prompted for a response by the press, Indian cricket-captain Virat Kohli responded calmly: “As an Indian you want to express what is best for your nation and my interests are always for the benefit of our nation. If anything opposes it, I would never support it for sure.”
“But having said that, it’s a very personal choice for someone to comment about certain issues. Unless I have total knowledge of the issues and the intricacies of it I don’t engage in it but definitely your priority stays with your nation,” he added.
Unfortunately, not everyone displayed similar temperament, and some were rather outraged because of the tweet.
Media called me for reaction on @SAfridiOfficial tweet on OUR Kashmir & @UN. What’s there to say? Afridi is only looking for @UN which in his retarded dictionary means “UNDER NINTEEN” his age bracket. Media can relax, @SAfridiOfficial is celebrating a dismissal off a no- ball!!!
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) April 3, 2018
Former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar slammed the tweet by saying: “We have got capable people to manage and run our country. No outsider needs to know or tell us what we need to do.”
Then there were many who blamed Pakistan for the unrest in Kashmir, like famous Indian lyricist, Javed Akhtar:
Dear Mr Afridi , since you want to see a peaceful JK sans any human rights violations could you please see to it that pak terrorists stop infiltrations n pak army stops supporting the separatists by closing down the training camps . It will greatly help in solving the problem
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) April 3, 2018
Ex-Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, refused to attach importance to Afridi. “I have no time for him. Who is he? Why are we giving importance to him? We should not be giving importance to such people. If somebody sitting in one corner of the world says something, I think the best thing is not to react to it,” he said in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, during an army-sponsored cricket tournament in Indian-occupied Kashmir, MS Dhoni was invited as chief-guest, and it was during this event that a video emerged where people present greeted India’s most successful cricket team captain with chants of ‘Boom, Boom Afridi’.
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) November 26, 2017
Then again, not all reactions to the tweet were negative; many people from the opposite side of the border commended Afridi for raising his voice. However, with reactions coming from the Indian side in bundles, Pakistani twitteratis made sure the debate wouldn’t be one sided.
Thank you for raising your voice for Kashmir 🙏
— Dr Sheikh Aamina (@Drsheikhamina) April 3, 2018
Afridi you beauty❤
Puri respect k sath reply kia aap ne ye hote hen legends @GautamGambhir koi coverage mili kisi news chennel pe k nhi?
— Sasha Ibraheem✨ (@IbraheemSasha) April 3, 2018
Amidst the tension, Dennis Freedman, an Australian cricket journalist, trolled Indian cricket-fans with his tweet:
The amount of grief that Afridi causes India with bat, ball and tweets is unparalleled
— Dennis Does Broadcast Rights (@DennisCricket_) April 4, 2018
and some people from Kashmir praised Afridi for standing up for them.
Thank you #Lala
Love you more than my own life…
That's why people of IOK love you pray for you & praise for you.
Ur every tweet and words are valuable.
U are an inspiration for human race.
Me from Indian occupied kashmir.
Thanks a lot.
— Asrar Afridi (@AsrarAfridi1) April 3, 2018
While many people were defending their stances on social media, some tried adding weight to their argument by circulating tweets later confirmed as fake.
— Imran Malik (@puxxle00) April 6, 2018
As clarified later by Ramiz Raja, through his official handle.
The tweet is from a fake account!!Cant believe that it made it to a front page splash..pls check before u paste!!!!! https://t.co/Vmr6SW6PJf
— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) April 7, 2018
Only time will tell when the Kashmir dispute will finally be resolved; but until then, both Pakistanis and Indians must learn that while the issue of basic human rights cannot be ignored, both nations must respect one another, based on the spirit of sportsmanship, as reminded by Afridi in a tweet posted hours after his first one.
We respect all. And this is an example as sportsman. But when it comes to human rights we expect the same for our innocent Kashmiris. pic.twitter.com/DT5aF1wX8P
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) April 3, 2018