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Pakistan is not a racist country: Akhtar

The former speedster clarified that it was just one or two players who tried to disturb an overall culture of respect and inclusivity

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s legendary former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar, in a Youtube video on Saturday, responded to the controversy created by his recent statements about the discrimination against Pakistan’s former leg-spinner Danish Kaneria by claiming that Pakistan was not a racist country.

The former speedster clarified that it was just one or two players who tried to disturb an overall culture of respect and inclusivity in the national side.

“A lot of controversy was created around me in the last couple of days. I wanted to respond point by point. I talked about Danish Kaneria but I was not talking about the team culture. There is an unwritten code that you have to respect every person representing Pakistan. Some players however showed hesitation. These types of players exist everywhere, those that pass racist comments. I dealt with them in an extreme way because that is not our culture,” Akhtar said.

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Akhtar believed that the incident of fighting racism showed the overall culture of Pakistan and should be appreciated rather than ridiculed.

“People should appreciate that I snubbed it right away. It shows the code of conduct of our country, myself and our society. We are improving as a society. I did not mean that we discriminate people as a country. I just pointed out one or two examples. This happened 15 years ago. You should be happy that people like me and my friends snubbed a thing like this,” he said.

The former pacer claimed that people who were adding more layers into the incident were trying to spark a religious war which would be ineffective in the modern era.

“Many tried to make this an issue of religion. They tried to politicise it. This is a very childish reaction. This is not 1920 where you can spark a religious war. People are much smarter now. I do not think there was anything wrong with what I said,” he said.

Akhtar stated that Kaneria had served Pakistan with honesty for a very long period of time and deserved credit and respect for his services.

“Danish has won many matches for Pakistan and deserves credit. I try to have a heart to heart conversation with my viewers.  Danish played for Pakistan for 10 years. He has taken around 260 wickets. He played regularly for the country. Pakistan never discriminated against him,” he concluded.