Former Team India cricketer Mohammad Kaif has argued a strong case for the ICC ejecting India's terror-friendly neighbour Pakistan from the upcoming World Cup on account of the Pulwama terror attack which was perpetrated by the Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and saw 40 CRPF Jawans being martyred.
Kaif has spoken about how South Africa was only re-admitted into the mainstream cricketing fold in 1992, with the governing body for Cricket having earlier taken a decisive stand against what was then institutional racism in South African cricket, with the nation only playing against 'white' countries. He then highlighted the magnitude of terrorism as global issue and says that the nation that indulges in it, i.e. Pakistan, must be dealt with in the severest of ways.
Here is the text of his tweet:
"SA were banned by ICC because of racism and were only readmitted in 1992. As far as know India had cut off all trade ties with South Africa then. Racism,as serious an issue as it is,terrorism is a big big issue & a nation indulging in it has to be dealt with in d most severe way"
Kaif joins a short list of Team India cricketers, past and present, who have taken this manner of stand - either in terms of India not playing against Pakistan at the World Cup in the match that is scheduled between the two teams on June 16 in Manchester, or by demanding Pakistan's omission from the tournament.
Addressing a news briefing earlier in the day, current skipper Virat Kohli had left the decision on India's participation against Pakistan at the showpiece tournament on the BCCI and the government, saying that whatever was decided, the team would respect that.
"Our stand is simple. We stick by what the Nation wants to do and what the BCCI decides to do, and that is basically our opinion. Whatever the government and the board decide eventually, we will go by that and we will respect that. So that is our stand on this particular issue", Virat Kohli said.
Kohli's take on the matter echoed some of the other Indian cricketers with whom Republic TV spoke, such as Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane and Kuldeep Yadav, who hinted that they weren't allowed to take a stand.
The BCCI's CoA met on Friday and took a couple of decisions with regards to Pakistan and the Pulwama terror attack, chief among them, a letter to the ICC wherein concerns have been placed on record over the security of players at the World Cup and a call has been made to sever ties with countries from where terrorism emanates.
Further, the BCCI has decided to not hold the IPL opening ceremony and instead use the budget to benefit the families of the Pulwama martyrs. However, CoA chief Vinod Rai didn't take a stand on the World Cup match with Pakistan, saying that there was a long time to go before the match.
In a surprise, however, Sachin Tendulkar has backed India playing Pakistan, highlighting that forfeiting the match would entail Pakistan getting two points:
Most significantly, however, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the following while speaking exclusively to Republic Bharat and Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami:
"We should not play cricket with Pakistan even if we have to suffer monetary loss. This is my personal opinion that there should be no match."
Republic Media Network has been running a #BoycottPakistan campaign, seeking the immediate curtailment of all ties with Pakistan, whether it be related to trade (the Indian government has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan in wake of the attack), cultural ties (with the film fraternity coming together to block Pakistani actors and artists from participating in Bollywood films) and an end to sporting ties.