Disgraced cricketer Muhammad Asif, who spent several months in an English jail four years ago for deliberately bowling no-balls in return for money by a betting syndicate, has said south African anti-apartheid politician Nelson Mandela was his inspiration in prison.

Here is what people think about his statement.

– How to be a great leader:

“Following the example set by the great politician, Muhammad Asif should now spend 26 more years in jail, stay ill for a rather long time, and then die gracefully. That way we will know he is truly inspired by Nelson Mandela.”

Saeed Soluble,

Sahiwal.

– Sellout

“There are a number of parallels one could draw between Muhammad Asif and Nelson Mandela. The most striking similarity between them is not that they have both been to prison. It is that leaders from South Africa’s black consciousness party the Azanian People’s Organization, who call Nelson Mandela a ‘sellout’, can also use this term appropriately for Muhammad Asif.”

Kashif Kakroach,

Karachi.

– Just what we need

“Does that mean Muhammad Asif plans to become a politician? If yes, that is good news. As you know, our country is in dire need of a talented but dishonest cricketer turned politician. We specifically need one who is trying hard to cover up illegal and immoral acts of the past, including alleged drug abuse. I have faith in him. He will build a new Pakistan.”

Reham Khan,

Islamabad.

– Who is Nelson Mandela?

“Excuse me, I’m sorry but I don’t know who Nelson Mandela is. I know he was from South Africa, but I can’t recall. Was he a bowler or a batsman? I don’t think I can comment before I know a little bit more about him. I will have to ask my son to Google him for me, and will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Someone’s mother,

Lahore.

– It won’t work

“I have deep respect for his feelings and what he has gone through, and I believe it is a good sign that he draws inspiration from such a great politician. But with all due respect to his noble feelings, I will have to say that I doubt Asif will be allowed to play for South Africa after having committed such a serious offense. I think he should draw inspiration from Gandhi and play for India.”

Mujahid Mystry,

Muzaffargarh.

– Role model

“Great! Muhammad Asif was inspired by Nelson Mandela. Now our young cricketers should be inspired by Muhammad Asif and go to jail.”

Gama Great,

Gujranwala.

– Future plans

“I think he is being misunderstood. If you look at the context of the statement, it is clear that what he is trying to say is that he has decided not to do anything for the next two decades, except occasionally speaking to reporters, forgiving his enemies, and waiting to die. That is just my guess. I am in no position to speak with certainty on this issue. I do think this will make him an ideal candidate for the next president of Pakistan. I do see some parallels between being in jail and being the president.”

Daniyal Dental,

Dadu.

– Sad day for African Americans

“I don’t understand why this is important. I know a lot of people who are inspired by Nelson Mandela even though they have never been to jail. I believe this is the darkest day in the history of the civil rights movement, and I think such comparisons hurt the feeling of African American people of South Africa.”

Tarik Tareek,

Toba Tek Singh.

– Yes we can

“I was also inspired by Barack Obama when I armed Islamist rebels in the Arab world thinking they will bring a revolution, this causing the rise of ISIS because of my irresponsible actions.”

Shoqeen Shahzada,

Saudi Arabia.

– War on terror

“I think the US should put Muhammad Asif on their terror watch list just like they did to Nelson Mandela. But I understand the talented cricketer’s point. A few months in prison is as good as decades of resistance to make little or no difference in the world.”

Haneef Heater,

Hyderabad.

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

harris@nyu.edu

@cyborgasms