Iqbal feels Imran can mend the fences

Iqbal feels Imran can mend the fences

Asif Iqbal

As a captain, what Asif Iqbal liked about a young Imran Khan was his determination and he believes that the current Pakistan Prime Minister will certainly do his bit in improving bilateral ties with India at all levels.

Imran played a lot of cricket under Iqbal’s captaincy and the 76-year-old has seen how driven the former is to achieve his goal. Not much has changed now that he is leading the nation, Iqbal feels.

“If he believes in something, he will go all the way in achieving that goal. He believes that India and Pakistan can live as friendly neighbours. I think he will at least try his best and go all the way for peace...not just as cricketers but as Pakistanis, we believe in what he says,” Iqbal, who has been living in London for decades now, told PTI during an exclusive interaction.

“He is totally committed and that’s what Pakistanis need – economic prosperity, stability in the region,” the veteran of 58 Test matches said.

He, however, side-stepped queries on the perception that it is the Army which holds political control in Pakistan.

“I am not qualified to comment since I don’t know. This is what the media says, their perception of Pakistan’s opposition parties as well as Indians,” he said.

Iqbal, who was given a standing ovation in his farewell Test match at the Eden Gardens in 1980, is “frustrated” how “external factors” spoil the narrative of a healthy Indo-Pak bilateral cricketing relationship.

“Times have changed but it has got nothing to do with sports itself or cricketers in general. Its everything to do with politics. I am totally frustrated. The reason for this (strained relations) is our politicians, who have had no interest in sports.

“Fortunately, we now have Imran Khan as Prime Minister, who has shown an intention to curb the hostility. That is brilliant,” Iqbal said ahead of the India-Pakistan World Cup contest here on Sunday.

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