KARACHI, (Reuters) – The guns fell silent and the streets were deserted after Pakistan were defeated by India in their World Cup semi-final in Mohali yesterday.
Zealous Pakistan fans, who had fired throughout the match at the fall of every Indian wicket or a boundary scored by the Pakistani batsmen, did not bother to waste their ammunition after the defeat and returned home silently.
“I had purchased 200 bullets out of my savings to celebrate the victory but now I guess I will save it for some other day,” Bashir Ahmed a manager at a local trading company said in the Saddar area which has the largest concentration of arms shops.
“I don’t know how to describe my feelings right now. I am very disappointed and sad. Losing to India and that too in a World Cup semi-final is intolerable,” said Zehreen, a young enthusiast who had the green Pakistan flag painted on her cheeks and also sported the replica T-shirt of the Pakistan team.
Soon after the semi-final ended, open spaces and parks where around 3,000 giant screens were installed privately or by the government were deserted after they were packed by enthusiastic fans cheering everything about their team.
Former test captain, Rashid Latif who watched the match with the players of his domestic team said the disappointment of the people was understandable.
“I have never seen so much euphoria or passion before a cricket match in my life. It was infectious but the end has been disappointing,” Latif told Reuters.
But he advised cricket fans to accept the defeat gracefully.
“I think given the problems Pakistan cricket has faced in recent times reaching the semi-final was a big achievement by itself,” he said.
Sardar Khan, a taxi driver who did not bring his vehicle out on the road on Wednesday because of the match, was angry with his team.
“They always disappoint us when we have high expectations from them. Our performance was pathetic. Losing to India is hard to accept at any time,” he said.
Such was the interest in the match that the government had suspended the customary power loadshedding during the day to enable the people to watch the match without any cuts.
The provincial government had even declared a public holiday while, in one of the city’s leading religious institutions, the Jamia Binnoria students had held mass prayers for the success of the team.
“I guess we will have to wait for another four years to win the World Cup. But I hope with this match relations with India will improve and we can resume playing bilateral cricket matches,” said Iqbal Haider, a senior politician and senior official of the human rights commission.