[Business Standard] The Pakistani Taliban has reportedly rejected an offer by the government to play a match for peace, saying that cricket is responsible for ‘turning youth away from jihad’.
This comes after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan offered to host a match with the militants to revive stalled peace talks in comments, which provoked derision on social media.
According to The Dawn, Pakistan‘s government entered into a formal dialogue with the Taliban earlier this month, but the process faltered after the militants executed 23 kidnapped soldiers.
Khan said that as he believed Taliban kept an interest in cricket, the peace talks can have a better result if the militant group plays a match for peace, although a Taliban spokesman said that his group will not play and insisted that Taliban is strongly against cricket.
Stating that the ‘secular people’ wants to distance the youth of the country from jihad and Islamic teachings through cricket, the spokesman further said that they are ready to open the deadlock in peace talks created by the government, although he added that the government is not sincere in peace talks.
Reaction to the minister’s suggestion that the Taliban could be tempted into talks through cricket was also overwhelmingly negative on Twitter, which is used mainly by the country’s English-speaking elite, the report added.