‘Locate fire locally’: DG ISPR backs Shahid Afridi in Twitter tiff against Indian cricketers over atrocities in Kashmir

  • After Gautum Gambhir, India captain Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Kapil Dev criticise the former T20 captain
  • At least 19 civilians were martyred while over 200 blinded and injured in an operation by Indian forces in the occupied valley on Sunday

LAHORE – Pakistan’s military spokesman took down the Indian media and a former cricketer while backing national pride and voice, Shahid Afridi, who drew ire from across the border when he tweeted condemnation of the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

The former T20 captain and ex-India opener Gautam Gambhir sparred on Twitter over the restive region that is claimed by both nuclear nations in its entirety.

Afridi tweeted on Tuesday that the situation was “appalling and worrisome in Indian-occupied Kashmir”.

Afridi called India an “oppressive regime” and appealed to the UN to intervene in Indian-administered Kashmir which saw its worst day of violence in years at the weekend.

This prompted Gambhir to retort that Afridi had a “retarded dictionary”.

After Gambhir, India captain Virat Kohli and batsman Suresh Raina weighed in their opinion on the issue, both batting in favour of India.

Kohli, in response to Afridi’s post, said that his interests are always in the benefit of the nation, and that he would never support anything that would oppose it.

“As an Indian you want to express what is best for your nation and my interests are always for the benefit of our nation. If anything opposes it, I would never support it for sure,” Kohli was quoted by Indian media as saying, adding that it is Afridi’s choice to comment on “certain issues”.

Raina, who made a comeback into the Indian team during the recent tour of South Africa, tweeted about Kashmir being an integral part of India, and that it will continue to remain so.

India former captain Kapil Dev too criticised Afridi for his comments, saying that certain people should not be given importance.

“Who is he? Why are we giving importance to him? We should not be giving importance to certain people,” Dev was quoted as saying according to ANI.

At least 19 Kashmiris were martyred in an operation by Indian forces in the occupied valley on Sunday and subsequent anti-demonstration action. Over 200 were injured as well.

India imposes curfew after clashes leave 20 dead in Kashmir

Soon after Gambhir rejected Afridi’s understanding of the situation in Kashmir, Afridi’s fans and Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor rallied behind the cricketer and tweeted in his support.

In his series of tweets in Afridi’s favour from his personal Twitter handle, the ISPR chief also responded to an Indian article about the former cricketer being “roasted online”.

He shared a video of an earlier match in which Afridi led Pakistan to victory against India by hitting two consecutive sixes.

The general also shared a picture of Afridi engaged in an on-field altercation with Gambhir with the caption, “And that’s the way for you.”

Afridi, who retweeted DG ISPR’s post, responded with another tweet, this time with a picture of him with Indian cricket fans.

Afridi is not the only Pakistani cricketer who has recently tweeted on Kashmir. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan also urged the UN to intervene in a tweet on Monday.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years and the two nations have fought two wars over it.

The occupied valley is one of the most militarised regions in the world, as India has stationed about half a million soldiers in the disputed territory.

Villages in south Kashmir, particularly Shopian, Pulwama and Anantnag have become the centrepoints of independence movement since July 2016, after the killing of young rebel commander Burhan Wani.

Wani’s killing in a gunfight led to widespread protests in the region for five long months, during which over 100 civilians were killed, and hundreds lost their eyes to the pellet guns fired by forces.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.