KARACHI - Former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail has urged India to settle all the issues with Pakistan and resume bilateral cricket at all levels, otherwise, stop playing against Pakistan in the World Cups and Champions Trophy.

Aamer Sohail expressed his views in an Indian program, and India’s Harbhajan Singh and Mohammad Azharuddin were also present in the show. The left-handed batsman said fighting with each other is not the solution, India has to understand that things cannot be settled in such manner, in fact, situation gets worse by dragging things like that.

Aamer said the issue should be solved intelligently with the policy of give and take. He said he is surprised over India’s behavior that on one hand, it hardens its stance to not play bilateral cricket series with Pakistan, and on the other hand, it agrees to play in World Cup matches.

“Why does India then play against Pakistan in ICC events? What is the reason? Is it for the money that India plays for? If India wants to harden its stance and not wants to keep any ties with Pakistan, then it should boycott all matches at all levels. It does not make any sense that India plays for the sake of its own benefit with Pakistan in the ICC events, and refuse to play in other matches due to political reasons,” remarked Sohail.

Aamer Sohail also gave example that Australia didn’t play their match in Sri Lanka in 1996 World Cup, and said if India doesn’t want to play, it should also make a sacrifice and refuse to play against Pakistan in ICC events. There is no way in-between. He stressed that if India does not want to play cricket with Pakistan, then it should not play the Champions Trophy match in Birmingham as well, only then its point will be well taken.

The aggressive batsman did not show any hesitation in pointing out that India does this so that its broadcasters, who televise the ICC tournaments, do not suffer any losses, and their advertisements do not get affected. “If India keeps on doing such things that it is OK to play in ICC events to save its broadcasters, then this approach is wrong.” He continued, “I’ll see whether India plays against Pakistan or not in an ICC match when a non-Indian broadcaster televises the match.”

Sohail also asked the question that why does India cut its ties whenever a democratic government comes in Pakistan and disputes start to arise? And whenever there is dictatorship in Pakistan, he continued, the relations get better and tours between both countries start?

He gave example of 1977 when General Ziaul Haq was the in-charge of Pakistan, and the tours were started. Then there came a gap afterwards, he said, and frequent tours started once again in the reign of another dictator, General Pervez Musharraf. “Where is the confusion? If India claims to be the biggest democracy in the world, why does it not respect the democracy in Pakistan? This is a big question,” he remarked.

Harbhajan Singh said he 100 percent agrees with Aamer Sohail. He said, “Whenever tension between both countries arises, the first thing that we get to hear is that we (India) don’t want to play cricket with Pakistan. Why not? If that is our stance then we should not play cricket with Pakistan at any level whether it is ICC event, U16, U14, or any other match. And not only cricket, we should stop playing other sports as well.”

He said if trade between both countries can continue, then why not cricket? If India wants to play, then it should play all matches, and if it does not want to play, then it should boycott the ICC matches as well, he said.

Harbhajan asked, “Is the fight between Pakistan and India due to cricket? Whether banning cricket would solve all the problems and the border issues? Is this the solution? If not then why do we (India) refuse to play cricket with Pakistan?” He made it clear that the fight is not at all due to cricket. There are other reasons behind this tension.

M Azharuddin also said that if India wants to keep ties with Pakistan, then it should be in every field, and if it does not want to maintain any relationship, then everything should be banned. He also said if the business between India and Pakistan can continue, then why not cricket?