Afridi is no stranger to controversy. From chewing cricket balls to dancing on pitches with spikes – from lashing out at the media to talking behind his teammates backs – from reports of playing politics in the dressing room to casual sexism on national television – Afridi has done it all. The question that's been bothering me is that why did an innocent diplomatic statement about 'getting more love in India than in Pakistan', cause so much outrage in the country?

Never in Pakistan's short history has someone been so polarizing as Shahid Afridi. Loved by many and hated by many, Shahid Afridi embodies everything this country is all about. Flair, flamboyance, risk taking and sadly a sense of invincibility that shocks us every time we fail. Like Afridi (when most of his flamboyant strokes don't come off), our people genuinely seem surprised when we're excluded from 'the big boys table' on the international political scene and that India has a much better team and has done much better than us at cultivating a certain image for itself. The people refuse to believe that our cricket team is average and we're just not producing the talent like we used to, the same goes for our political scene.

With recent events, it is safe to say that we've hit a new low as a nation and I find myself in a peculiar situation of defending Afridi. Shahid Afridi has time and again proved that he says and does what he wants, when he wants. He has also made some pretty questionable decisions like claiming women should be in the kitchen and not playing sports. His statement about getting more love in India than in Pakistan was a smart and calculated one. Entering India amid threats of violence from the far right Hindutva movement, something had to be said to ease the tensions and he did just that. The reaction of our people, and the media, bordered on being abhorrent and sinister. People brought out the worst in their souls, generally reserved for Pakistani women who accomplish something on their own, without any help from anyone else.

It all seems way too familiar and we can now see there’s a pattern to this outrage and shaming. We first noticed it with Malala Yousafzai, a girl we hate because she was lucky enough to survive a bullet to the head. Then it was Humaima Malick for exposing her midriff in an Indian movie. Then we saw it with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy after she exposed Pakistan's ugly underbelly in her two documentary films about acid attacks on women and honour killings. Now surprisingly it seems that its Afridi's turn to be labeled an Indian agent or accused of looking for a job in India.

Simply put, if you're a Pakistani, you're not allowed to praise anything in India. You're not supposed to talk about the problems facing our country. You're not supposed to expose the evil practices of this land of the pure, you shouldn't be a strong independent woman because that might hurt your husband/father/brother's feelings and you certainly shouldn't be a non-Muslim. As a Pakistani, you're just supposed to shut your eyes, cover your ears and scream Pakistan is perfect and there is nothing wrong with it. You get this mindset when you promote an 'us versus them' mentality in school (via textbooks) and teach an alternate, revised version of history to children as young as six. Now the biggest problem faced by our government is this indoctrinated hyper-nationalism, which will most likely plague our society for at least the next couple of generations until some drastic changes in our policies are made.