London: Their message of ‘Stop War Start Tennis’ fetched Indian Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Of The Year award during the ATP World Tour Finals here.
The two players have been playing with the message of ‘Stop War Start Tennis’ for quite some time on the Tour and in Grand Slams.
They rose to prominence by reaching the final of US Open where they ended runners-up to the legendary Mike and Bob Bryan.
While Qureshi has received this award in the past as well when he teamed up with Israel’s Amir Hadad in 2002, it’s a first for Bopanna.
“It’s a great feeling to be here and presented with this award from our peers and the ATP. I would like to thank my family, friends and Aisam. It’s been an emotional and unbelievable year for us. I want to applaud the courage and determination of the people in India. I hope this award brings reassurance of peace back home,” Bopanna said.
Qureshi said, “It’s a great feeling and I’d like to thank the ATP for giving us this platform to spread the message of peace throughout the world. For me, it is an unbelievably proud moment.”
“To be on the same list as Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg and Nelson Mandela is a terrific honour. We have had a great year and given a positive message about peace through our partnership and off the court. I am very happy to have won with my best friend on tour,” he added.
Karachi: Several Christian families in this Pakistani city have fled their homes while many have sent their women to safer places after a Christian boy eloped with a Muslim girl, causing tension in their neighbourhood, a media report said.
The situation in Karachi`s Saeedabad area has become tense after an 18-year-old Muslim girl eloped with a 20-year-old Christian boy last week, The News International reported.
The couple fled to Faisalabad, where the boy converted to Islam and married the girl.
Following the incident, the girl`s family and activists of a political party allegedly threatened the Christian community of dire consequences if the girl did not return home.
The girl`s family also stoned the locality`s church, forced a local school to shut down and reportedly forced the Christian people to migrate from the area.
A Christian resident said on condition of anonymity that although a week has passed since the incident took place, a tense atmosphere prevails in the area.
"I have sent my three children to my relatives` place since the activists have threatened us that they would start kidnapping our girls. Becoming terrified, many people locked their homes and ran away, while others have caged themselves up in their houses.
Now, the entire Christian community is paying the price for the boy`s crime, he said.
William Sattar, a social activist, alleged that police were picking up boys from the area and beating them up.
"We are very worried as armed men are roaming in the area. They have already attacked our church and we are scared that they might start attacking our houses," he said.
Saeedabad police station station house officer Nasir Sami said police are doing all they could to control the law and order situation.
"The boy has sent his `free-will` conversion and marriage certificate to police officials and calm and peace is returning to the area," he said.