M Ashraf Haidari, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, has described Pakistan cricketer Asif Ali’s ‘gun-shot’ celebration after victory over the Afghanistan cricket team as a ‘disgraceful act of aggression.’ Taking to Twitter, Haidari also praised the Afghan team, adding that the ‘time for war will come.’
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“A disgraceful act of aggression from Pakistan’s prominent cricket player @AasifAli2018, pointing his bat like a gun towards Afghan players, who gave him and his teammates a tough time. Above all, sports is about healthy competition, friendship and peace. Time for war will come!” Haidari tweeted on Saturday, after Pakistan defeated their neighbours by five wickets the previous night in Dubai, at the ongoing ICC World Twenty20.
Ali held his bat like one would hold a gun while in a firing position, after hitting his fourth, and match-winning six on the last ball of the 19th over. Going into the final 12 balls of its chase, Pakistan needed 24 runs to haul Afghanistan’s total of 147. However Ali, who finished not out on 25 off just seven balls, hit four sixes to win the match for his team.
The match was played in the backdrop of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan for a second time, in August. Pakistan, on its part, has faced allegations of aiding the Taliban in its power grab, a charge which Islamabad has repeatedly refuted. Also, the new Afghan administration, which identifies the country as the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,’ is yet to be recognised. However, the Imran Khan government recently allowed Taliban-appointed envoys to take charge of the Afghan embassy and consulates in Pakistan.
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Haidari, meanwhile, has been Afghanistan’s envoy to Sri Lanka since 2018, when Ashraf Ghani was the President of the war-torn nation. However, post the Taliban’s takeover, Ghani fled the country, and was taken in by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Incidentally, the ICC World T20 2021 competition is being played in the UAE.