ICC Champions Trophy: Kashmir erupts in joy

ICC Champions Trophy: Kashmir erupts in joy
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People took to the streets, hold nocturnal pro-freedom rallies to celebrate Pakistan’s spectacular performance against India

SRINAGAR: Pakistan’s thrilling win against India in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday saw celebrations erupt on streets. The joy began in the afternoon, when India asked Pakistan to bat and the first boundary crossed the fence. Firecrackers began to burst and continued till late night. In between, when Pakistan finished its innings at 337, an Imam at a Sopore mosque prayed ‘Khudaya Aaze Izzat (Oh Allah give us respect today)’ which was responded by everyone with an Ameen.
While Pakistan was still to crush the Indian team by 180 runs, mosques at many places hummed with pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans. The Pakistan anthem was played at many places as well. In downtown Srinagar, youth fired crackers continuously. When Pakistan was close to defeating India, youth gathered at marketplaces across Kashmir blasting crackers one after the other.
“It does not matter now when will Pakistan win next. For now, each moment is to be cherished,” said a youngster Arif Ahmad at Karan Nagar chowk. In Srinagar’s downtown, pro-freedom rallies were taken out to celebrate Pakistan’s win. At Safa Kadal, dozens of youth raising pro-Pakistan slogans, pro-Lashkar and pro-Islam slogans, burst crackers. Youth carrying Pakistan flag took out a rally at Darish Kadal. Similar celebrations were held in south Kashmir and north Kashmir.
Youth took out a protest march near main market Hajin and raised slogans in favour of Pakistan and Azadi.
Inside the Kashmir University campus, students celebrated the win in their hostels. At the moment Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmad walked forward with a big smile to raise the Champions Trophy, there was a chorus of raucous shouting in one of its auditoriums. The students soon assembled outside and moved towards the humanities block. An audio clip of women students shouting pro-Pakistan slogans was uploaded soon on social networking sites.
“Jeeve jeeve Pakistan, teri jaan meri jaan, Pakistan Pakistan” and “Hum Pakistani hai aur Pakistan hamara hai (We are Pakistani and Pakistan is ours)” were some of slogans that reverberated in the campus.
In the old city, when the stock of crackers had been exhausted, people gave money to buy another lot. The sky was lit up by firecrackers till late night.
“For a long time we were waiting for this victory. Thank God that He heard our prayers,” a boy named Rameez Bhat said.
At many places, government troops had burst crackers too, rejoicing whenever a Pakistani wicket fell and when Hardik Pandya hit three sixes off Pakistani leg spinner Shadab Khan. That rejoicing did not last long, as Hardik Pandya was run out soon afterwards.
Police had issued advisory in advance to its men to prevent any ‘untoward incident’ during or after the cricket match.
People in Kashmir had been upset for a while with the Pakistani team’s poor performance against India. Kashmiri have been cheering for Pakistan ever since the country came into being. Many Kashmiri students studying in India were attacked last year for cheering for Pakistan.