Junaid Nabi Bazaz
SRINAGAR: Pakistan’s thrilling win against South Africa in a World Cup match on Saturday was cathartic for Kashmiris, and the celebrations that erupted on streets gave the impression that people were purging the bitterness they had taken in when India defeated Pakistan comfortably in their first match.
Bursting of fire crackers to the accompaniment of slogans such as jeevay jeevay (long live) Pakistan was a common scene at various places in Srinagar.
A group of people watching the match outside an electronics goods shop in Lal Chowk broke into two groups when South Africa’s Imran Tahir was caught by Pakistani wicketkeeper Sarfaraz. While one group shouted “jeevay jeevay”, the other responded saying “Pakistan”.
“I saw a man hugging the TV screen after the victory,” said Atif, a college student.
Abdul Rasheed, a businessman, said, “I was very upset with Pakistan’s performance after it lost to India and West Indies. But today’s victory is a gift for me.”
At Nowhatta in old city Srinagar, the mood was quite different. People not only celebrated but exchanged greetings with friends.
Kashmir Reader also learnt from South, central and north Kashmir that people came on street to celebrate the victory.
In Sopore main market, a group of youth threw stones at the police, possibly because they presumed no celebration will be allowed. Sopore superintendent of police Abdul Qyoom said the situation remained peaceful despite the incident.
Facebook users also congratulated Pakistani team and posted messages that said the celebrations on the street showed love for Pakistan “has not diminished despite state repression”.
With this third consecutive victory, Pakistan is likely to reach quarter-finals if they beat Ireland on March 15. Sports experts believe that even if Pakistan losses that match, they will still have a change to reach quarter final.
People in the Kashmir valley were upset with the Pakistani’s poor performance in their initial losses against India and West Indies.
Kashmiri has been cheering for Pakistan since it came into being. Many Kashmiri students studying in India were attacked last year for cheering for Pakistan.