India and Pakistan are the two countries in the South Asia that have their relations never at ease for the last seven decades. Both countries have fought war over the disputed issue of Kashmir and have gained nothing out of the bloody wars and bitter relations. Both suspect each other if anything goes wrong in either of the two countries.
But while the diplomatic overt and covert war goes on between the two countries, there rose a sportsman and a tennis player with a slogan that brought a breeze of fresh air. Aisam ul Haq Qureshi of Pakistan, pairing with the Indian Rohan Bopanna not only played wonderful tennis recently and even took the Pakistani national flag to the Arthur Ashe Tennis stadium in USA for the first time in its history when he and Bopanna played the men’s double final with the Bryan brothers early this year. Although the duo lost the finals, Aisam won over the hearts of millions when he told the jam packed crowd at the Arthur Ashe stadium, “ feel there is a very wrong perception of Pakistan as a terrorist country. We are a very peace-loving country and we want peace as much as you. Since September 11, every time I come to the States or Western countries, I feel people have the wrong impression about Pakistan as a terrorist nation. There are extremists I think in every religion but, just because of them, you cannot judge the whole country as a terrorist nation. I just want to get this message across as a Pakistani.”
His emotional yet heart winning address was part of the slogan he raised earlier “Stop War – Start Tennis” for the leaders and people of both India and Pakistan with a view to shunning their differences and start a peaceful start for the better future of the two countries.
The United Nations has already nominated Aisam as an ambassador of goodwill. The World Peace and Sport Organization of Monaco has also recognized both players quest for peace and awarded them the prestigious Peace Image of the Year award.
Now acknowledging his message of peace and efforts to bring Pakistan and India closer, the International Olympic Committee has announced to decorate both Aisam and Bopanna’s shirts in the IOC Museum Lausanne, Switzerland. It may be added here that both Aisam and Bopanna have been wearing shirts with “Stop War – Start Tennis” slogan even during the Wimbledon and after that.
We commend Aisam and Bopanna’s efforts and wish Aisam the very best of luck as he intends playing the 2011’s first Grand Slam Championship – the Australian Open.
Related Reading: Aisam ul Haq Qureshi (Pakistanpaedia)