Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi’s life-changing speech
Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi’s emotional speech after losing in the
doubles final at the U.S. Open may be making a difference for
Because of violence and terrorism last year, Pakistan has been
stripped of its right to co-host next year’s cricket World Cup.
International tennis and field hockey federations also have been
struggling to get other teams to agree to visit the country for
matches or tournaments.
But it looks like things are changing.
”After what happened in Lahore last year, it will be first time
when a team of ITF security officials will be visiting Pakistan in
the coming months,” Qureshi told The Associated Press, referring
to a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus en route to
a test match. ”Maybe it’s because of my speech at the U.S.
Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna, from India, reached the final in New
York but lost to Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team in
After the match, Qureshi spoke from the heart at Arthur Ashe
Stadium and drew a standing ovation.
”Every time I come here I feel there’s a very wrong perception
about Pakistan being a terrorist country,” Qureshi said at the
time. ”We are very friendly, loving and caring people and we want
peace in this world as much as you guys want. May Allah bless us
American tennis great Jim Courier, who was conducting the prize
ceremony, was impressed, saying the speech was ”beautiful.”
But problems remain in Pakistan. Suicide bombings have taken
hundreds of innocent lives as the country continues its fight
against Al-Qaeda. The government is also struggling to help about
20 million people after recent floods left them homeless.
Now, with the International Tennis Federation expected to make
its visit, Qureshi is hoping that Pakistan will be able to host
Hong Kong in the Davis Cup next year at Lahore.
”Lahore’s Defence Club is one of the venues and I am hopeful
that if everything goes well, we will see international teams
returning to Pakistan in other sports too,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi is currently in India for the Commonwealth Games, a
multi-sports event that brings together 71 countries and
territories from the British Commonwealth. He has already been
eliminated from the singles and doubles tournaments, however.
”The draws were pretty tough here,” said Qureshi, who lost to
Matt Ebden of Australia in the second round of the singles
In doubles, he and teammate Aqeel Khan lost to Australian pair
Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak.
”My partner had to play in the doubles just three hours after
he finished his match in singles,” Qureshi said. ”Probably it was
asking too much from us in this heat and humidity of New