Jubilant cricket fans on Sunday poured onto the streets across Pakistan to hail their team’s rout of archrivals India at the T20 World Cup in Dubai.
Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket triumph, a first ever at the World Cup level over their South Asian neighbors.
Fans danced and sang, shouting slogans of “Pakistan zindabad,” or “Long Live Pakistan.”
Celebratory gunfire erupted from the rooftops of houses in the capital, Islamabad, as well as Peshawar and Karachi, while fireworks also lit up the sky.
“Congratulations to the Pakistan Team & esp to Babar Azam who led from the front, as well as to the brilliant performances of [Mohammad] Rizwan & Shaheen Afridi,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who led the country to victory in the 1992 World Cup cricket, wrote on Twitter.
Imran watched the game in Saudi Arabia, where he is on an official visit.
Former Test cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said in a video message on Twitter: “Our team has broken the myth of the Indian cricket team. We are a civilized nation and we will not say anything bad. Well done India... You have done wonderfully well, but not enough to beat the mightiest Babar and Rizwan.”
In India, a torrent of social media abuse was aimed at the country’s only Muslim player, bowler Mohammed Shami, after the thrashing by Pakistan. Violence against Muslims in India was also reported.
Cricket clashes between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan frequently heighten tensions between the nations, who have fought three wars since their independence in 1947.
The 31-year-old Shami became the main target after the defeat, even though India captain Virat Kohli acknowledged that his side had been “outplayed.” Hundreds of messages were left on Shami’s Instagram account saying he was a “traitor” and should be thrown off the team.
Many fans and politicians also urged support, calling on players to reject the hate messages, just as they had backed the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee.
“Team India your BLM knee-taking counts for nothing if you can’t stand up for your teammate who is being horribly abused and trolled on social media,” Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, wrote on Twitter.
“Ignore the haters, most of India’s grateful for your effort,” another supporter wrote on Instagram.
Hundreds ignited firecrackers in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir, where troops are fighting an insurgency.
In Punjab state students from Kashmir said they were beaten up.
A student at an engineering and technology institute said dozens of men armed with hockey sticks and batons attacked them as they watched the closing stages of the game.
“They entered our room, switched off the lights and beat us. They destroyed our laptops,” the student said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We are safe now and we have support from our college. But we didn’t expect this at all. We are Indians,” they added.
The match also sparked violence in neighboring Bangladesh. Two Pakistan supporters were beaten by India fans as they celebrated the win in one southern district, media reports said.
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