LAHORE (Staff Report) – Rival cricket fans from India and Pakistan have switched sides on social media ahead of a high-voltage World Twenty20 clash, in protest over long-running tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Thousands of citizens – from Karachi to Lahore and from Kashmir to Kolkata – have changed their profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote the peace that is desired by everyone.
An online campaign #ProfileforPeace, initiated by Nudrrat Khawaja from Pakistan and Samir Gupta from India, is doing the rounds to put a halt to the hate politics existing between the two countries.
The hashtag #ProfileforPeace was trending on Facebook ahead of Saturday’s match, whose build-up has been mired in controversy over security arrangements for the Pakistani team.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said he had been bowled over by the move.
The trend comes after Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi was criticised over his declaration that Pakistan’s cricketers receive more love in India than back home.
On one hand, Pakistan cricket fans are changing their display pictures to support the Indian cricket team and on the other, Indian cricket fans are doing the same to show their support for the Green Shirts.
While the India-Pakistan World T20 match was moved from the original venue Dharamsala to Eden Gardens, the Pakistan Cricket Board took a strong stance and sent their team to participate amidst security concerns.
With Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik happy with the security arrangements, cricket lovers want their teams to provide entertainment and only entertainment. Not a war, nor a fight.
In the recent past, there have been several instances of hatred being spewed against Pakistan by Indian political parties, and vice-versa.
But now people of different ages and walks of life have taken matters into their own hands by changing their display image with beautiful captions to show their support for the fans of the other nation.
The campaign, which is winning hearts everywhere, has gone viral on social media and resulted in an avalanche of profile pictures.
— I’m amit shukla (@amitshukla22) March 17, 2016
India and Muslim-majority Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947 and diplomatic relations remain tense.
India suspended bilateral cricket with Pakistan after the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.