Much of the world’s terrorism comes from Pakistan. And while its government makes the right noises, it doesn’t really do all that much to battle it.

Now an Australian has just offended Pakistan – cricket umpire Darrell Hair. So does that mean we now face a full toss terror alert?

This is more than a game. Darrell Hair has been burnt in effigy for his ball-tampering allegations in rallies across the country. He’s been called a “mini Hitler”. Hair has form for Pakistan fans. They’re pointing to his decision to call Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking back in 1995 as evidence of racism.

According to a senior Pakistani government official who did not want to be named, Musharraf spoke to the team management on Sunday and followed that up with a phone call to Inzamam yesterday.

The official said: “The president spoke to captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and supported the stance the team took in protest against the allegations of ball tampering”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advisory for Pakistan this week. It urges Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Pakistan at this time. “Security at the Australian High Commission in Islamabad is at a high level as a precautionary measure,” it says.

But is there a risk here in Australia? Cricket is a religion in Pakistan, and religion and fanaticism are closely linked. Australia is next door to Pakistan in Afghanistan. Australia is in Iraq.

If you’re a Pakistani fan with a penchant for jihad, this might just be the last straw – an insult to both your faiths.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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