New Delhi, Dec 27: Former India cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir condemned Pakistan after reports of mistreatment to Pakistani cricketer Danish Kaneria by a few teammates for being a Hindu cropped up.
Gambhir, who retired from all formats of cricket last year before plunging into active politics, claimed that it showed the "real face of Pakistan". "We had captains like Mohammad Azharuddin leading India for such a long time... This is happening in a country helmed by Imran Khan who himself was a cricketer," Gambhir said.
The former India opener said Kaneria has played 60-55 Tests for his country. If despite that he's being made to face such torture, "this is really shameful".
"India gave so much respect to Mohammad Kaif, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel. In fact, Patel is my close friend. We always played as a team to make our country proud. But the reports coming in from Pakistan are really unfortunate," Gambhir said, adding, "this shows the real face of Pakistan".
Whatever @shoaib100mph said in his interview is true. But at the same time, i am thankful to all great players who supported me wholeheartedly as a cricketer. I personally request all not to politicise the issue. Here is my statement: pic.twitter.com/8vN3Kilm4W— Danish Kaneria (@DanishKaneria_) December 26, 2019
The cricketer-turned-politician said if a sportsperson could be meted out such a treatment, "one can only imagine what Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities have to go through (in Pakistan)".
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar first revealed Kaneria faced discrimination at the hands of a few Pakistani cricketers, who were reluctant to even eat with him because he is a Hindu. Kaneria supported Akhtar's claim.
Kaneria, only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan after his maternal uncle Anil Dalpat, took 261 wickets in 61 Tests at an average of 34.79. He also played 18 ODIs. On the ongoing protests against the amended citizenship law, Gambhir said people were being misled and the legislation was not "anti-Muslim or anti-Indian".
"I would request people...whatever you want to do, please do it peacefully. The government will resolve your issues. Nothing will come out of violence, stone-pelting on police and damaging public property," he said.
(With PTI inputs)