Stop War Start Tennis

28 Jun

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A handsome looking Indo-Pak Peace Project: Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna


I’m sick and tired of hating India. We’ve been doing it for over 60 years and all we have gotten out of it is three wars, an inflated defense budget and bad press. Its time to stop! And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, the stellarly good-looking Pakistani tennis champ (yes I have a crush on him – who wouldn’t, he’s so cute!!) and his Wimbeldon doubles partner Rohan Bopanna seem to agree. The unlikely Indo-Pak pair have been playing as one team and they have been sporting tennis jackets that say “Stop War Start Tennis.”  The world is not used to seeing India and Pakistan step onto any field (playing or battle) as one team so the unlikely duo have been making headlines. And they are making full and good use of it by promoting the game of Tennis in the cricket dominated subcontinent and spreading the message of peace.     

Aisam and Rohan met at the age of 16 at a tennis camp and they have been good friends ever since. They are a good example of how friendship can overcome barriers or race, religion and nationality. While their international tennis playing status has allowed them to remain friends and see each other frequently, there are thousands of people on both sides of the border who long and yearn to see the people and places they once loved and knew as home but have been unable to see for over 60 years due to cruel visa regimes and heartless politicians who drive wedges deeper and wider between India and Pakistan for personal gain.     

I visited India in 2004 and it was a wonderful experience, largely because a lot of the friends and people I met there had recently been to Pakistan to see the India Pakistan cricket series. The people I met would not stop talking about the wonderful time they had, about the generosity of the people and the delicious food. They told me about how shopkeepers had opened their shops to them at all times of the night and given them free food and gifts when they found out they were from India. The Indians I met had been bowled over by the love and hospitality of the Pakistani people. Friends who had visited India during the cricket matches had a similar experience. And even I benefitted from many a shopping discount at the mention of having travelled all the way from Pakistan.     

Ever since the Mumbai terror attacks, relations with India have been at an all time low and, in my opinion, this benefits neither country. A number of steps have been taken to improve relations and at the forefront of this is the Aman ki Asha initiative by the Jang Group and Times of India. The recent meeting between the home ministers of the SAARC countries, held in Islamabad also went well and everyone seems to have left it with warm, fuzzy feelings and a general increase in the “lets be friends” feeling. Which is why, I think this is the perfect time to do what Aisam and Rohan have proposed – organize a tennis match between the dynamic duo at the Wagah border.     

According to a report by the Guardian, the two tennis players want to play a tennis match at Wagah, the border separating India and Pakistan. The border will serve as the net. Aisam will play on the Indian side and Rohan will play on the Pakistani side of the border. The tennis stars are trying to turn this fantastic idea into reality. And at this point in time, I think that is exactly what the two countries need. I don’t know much about tennis but I really want this match to happen! I will go to watch. And I promise to read up everything I can and ask anyone I can to help me understand the game better so I am prepared to watch the war of tennis at the border. And I’m sure a lot of other Pakistanis will two. We all love a little bit of healthy competition with the Indians!     

I don’t know how one goes about organizing a tennis match at an international border and one of the most terse borders in the world on top of that. But I wish I knew how to do it. So if any of you have ideas, please help. I would like to see some Indo-Pak tennis and also some regional peace and good will. And while I watch this match, I will put aside my intensely competitive patriotic feelings and cheer loudly for Rahul Bopanna. Because it takes a lot of courage for an Indian, to cross the border and play on Pakistani soil. And it also takes a lot of courage and common sense to ask for an end to war and the promotion of peaceful sport. So Rohan, you try to make this tennis match happen – and we the 170 million people of Pakistan will cheer you on with all our might!     



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5 Responses to “Stop War Start Tennis”

  1. aman June 28, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    nice idea……

  2. Aftab Zaidi June 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    While the sentiment behind your article is certainly admirable; however no effective change can occur without the blessings of the military. I do not see any positive in the army’s India centric policy in the near future. The Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman yesterday announced that Pakistan is free to use its newly inducted F-16s against any adversary. This is despite the conditions imposed by the US whereby these fighters are to deployed only in the FATA war zone. Not too long President Zardari floated the idea of no first nuclear strike while speaking to a session of Hindustan Times summit. This statement created a furor and a campaign was launched against him in the electronic and print media. Although we have a foreign minister but it is always the army that calls the shots. Aman ki asha or no aman ki asha. Peace between the two neighbors will remain an elusive goal unless there is profound transformation in the mentality of our military establishment.

  3. bach June 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Wonderful post, Hope that match come true and I will support Aisam. So its a deal 🙂

  4. Anuhav July 1, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Better still demolish trade barriers. Let the trade flow smoothly. This will ease everything.


  1. Tweets that mention Stop War Start Tennis « Sehar Says…. -- - June 28, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Khalid Farooq, Sehar Tariq. Sehar Tariq said: Stop War Start Tennis: I’m sick and tired of hating India. We’ve been doing it for over 60… […]

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