New Delhi: With the Indo-Pak cricketing ties in limbo, Pakistani cricketing legend-turned politician Imran Khan on Friday asserted that stopping cricket is not an answer to terrorism and said he has raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi while hoping for a positive response.
"Stopping cricket is not an answer to terrorism. You don't boycott a society on the basis of few sick men," Imran said, when asked about playing cricket amid terrorism from across the border, at 'Agenda AajTak'.
"I supported the ban on South Africa once, but that was due to their stance on apartheid and that was a human rights violation. But other than that I believe sport should carry on. It is a matter of lifelong relationship. People to people contact is necessary to build ties. Sachin (Tendulkar) is loved in Pakistan as a Wasim (Akram) is loved in India," he added.
On his meeting with Modi, Imran said, "I told Modi that cricket should happen. Modiji smiled at that question and I couldn't decipher whether it was a 'yes' or 'no'. But I am a positive person and would take that positively".
"We are the first generation of partition children, so we had heard a lot of hate stories. And people like us were on each side of the country. But when I toured India as a cricketer, I realised that we are the same people, who listen to the same songs and have the same tastes.
"There is consensus in Pakistan against terror. So we should look to bridge gaps not create distances," he said.
Imran, the politician, also tried to explain the dynamics of modern society, once again stressing the need for people-to-people contact.
"Every society has two sections -- the right wing and the liberals. Look what Donald Trump had to say against Muslims. So you should not judge a society like Pakistan. When Mumbai attacks happened every Pakistani was sad.
"Seeing people go down is always a sad thing for a human being. So acts like these do not reflect the true image or though of the whole nation," he added.
Meanwhile 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, who was also sharing the stage with Imran, was more guarded in his stance on Indo-Pak cricket.
"Players have no problem in playing against each other, but you can't go against government policy. Boards certainly want to play, but Imran, Kapil and Sachin's views do not matter, it is the government's decision which finally counts," Kapil said.