First they defeated their arch-rivals and then graciously admitted at being bowled over by the Punjabi hospitality. An invitational Pakistani wrestling side proved too good for its Indians counterparts in the wrestling matches held in the memory of late MLA Nachhtar Singh Gill, father of former DGP and Akali leader Paramdeep Singh Gill at Moga on Sunday. It was the bonhomie, however, that took centre-stage.
Mohammad Ali, the star of the Pakistani pehalwaan side who stole the show with the maximum wins, said: “ All this talk of rivalry between India and Pakistan has nothing to do with the common man. When we received the invitation, for this contest, we were very excited as wrestling holds a special place in both nations. People have taken good care of us, cheered us, and have been great hosts. How can we be hostile to such warmth”.
Adding to this Suleman Masih, another Pakistani wrestler said; “ It is always a treat to come to India and play here. Kabbadi, wrestling and cricket are three games which evoke a passionate response from the public which is a huge boost for us players. Times have changed and despite the fact that we are playing against Indian players, a good point is appreciated by the audience irrespective of the fact whether it comes from the Indian side or the Pakistani one”.
The Pakistani grapplers say they would love to keep coming back. “We would love to keep coming back for more matches and even practice sessions. The akharas in India are producing some world class wrestlers and it would be fun to practice with them and then compete against them. A human to human, relation building exercises will help bring down hostility between the two nations and help bring peace to the continent. The common man does not want to live in conflict, we all want peace and prosperity whether Pakistani or Indian,” said Haider Ali, another member of the victorious Pakistani contingent.