Islamabad, May 24: The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the ''best Confidence-Building Measure'' (CBM) between India and Pakistan which has brought the peoples of the two countries closer than any of the steps taken by the either government so far, people here say.
The IPL fever has gripped the people of this mega city, including young and old and even women, and the cricket matches are watched with great interest. Even in hotel lobbies, people are glued to television sets when the matches are on and excited discussions take place whenever any wrong or good shot is played by any player, whether an Indian or a Pakistani or any one else.
Besides covering the matches live, television channels have special discussions and analysis on various matches and one of the television channels even has a programme called the 'IPL response' which invites comments from viewers. Experts give their opinion on the performance of players, whether they are Indian or Pakistanis. The Geo Super Television channel gives the schedule of the matches to be played and the timing of the play.
''This (IPL) is the best thing that has hapened to India-Pakistan relations,'' said Jehangir, a university student. ''I wonder why did not they think of such a move earlier. This is the best CBM between the two countries,'' he added.
''Cricket has always been very, very popular in both countries.
And it has always played a great role in the relations between them.
Even former President Gen Zia-ul-Haq and lately President Pervez Musharraf indulged in what you called cricket diplomacy. I wonder why did not the governments take the cue then and use it for betterment of relations,'' according to Aslam Khan, a businessman in the upmarket 'Jinnah Super'.