India-Pakistan cricket bonhomie in the heart of East Africa

By Manish Chand, IANS,

Dar es Salaam : When Indians and Pakistanis get together, they talk and enjoy cricket wherever they may be. Thousands of miles away from Mohali, in this East African booming metropolis, Indians and Pakistanis gathered together to savour the World Cup semifal, cheering their teams on and celebrating the peace initiative.

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“It shows the strong inner desire of Indians and Pakistanis to remain engaged in the process of normalizing and developing relations,” Tajammul Altaf, Pakistan’s high commissioner to Tanzania, told IANS amid loud rejoicing when Sachin Tendulkar was at the crease.

“The leaders of the two countries have sent out a message of goodwill. Cricket creates special excitement, hype, energy and enthusiasm. Cricket is a great connector,” the Pakistani envoy said at the Red Onion restaurant at the Haidary Plaza in downtown Dar es Salaam.

Agreed K.V. Bhagirath, India’s high commissioner to Tanzania. “It’s a very enjoyable afternoon and I am sure the Indian team will win in the end,” Bhagirath told IANS.

“The game has had a galvanizing effect on the Asian community in Dar by bringing them together,” Bhagirath said,

Nearly 40-50 Indians and Pakistanis tucked into their kebabs, biryani and tandoori chicken at a special screening organised by the Pakistan Social Community at the Red Onion restaurant, run by Azher Wahi, a Pakistani who has been living here for many years.

Nearly 40,000 Persons of Indian Origin and 3,000 Pakistanis have been living in harmony in Tanzania for many years.

“It’s a model of harmony, friendship and understanding,” said the Pakistani envoy. Nothing like cricket to bring us together, said Shakil Ansari of Pakistani Social Community.