Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi condemned the arrest of an Indian fan who was wearing a jersey with the star cricketer's number while watching a cricket match in the Northeast Indian state of Assam.
Ripon Chowdhury was arrested on Sunday after a complaint was filed by the youth wing of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). While there were reports that the 21-year-old was charged with "obscenity in a public place", sources close to the police have reportedly refused to confirm the charges and revealed that he was given bail soon after detention.
Afridi reacted sharply and said such incidents, which highlight intolerance, should be condemned. He also revealed he had no problems with Pakistan cricket fans, who idolised Indian cricketers.
"Cricket fans should only be seen as cricket lovers in both countries. It is shameful that such an incident should take place. It is sad that politics is being played with cricket," Afridi told Jang newspaper, as quoted by The Indian Express.
"Such incidents highlight intolerance and should be condemned. Because if there are fans of Pakistan cricket players in India the same is the case in Pakistan where there are fans of Indian players."
Notably, a Pakistani fan of Virat Kohli was charged with sedition in the country's central town of Okara for waving an Indian flag after the Indian Test team captain came up with a match-winning knock against Australia earlier this year.
The relationship between India and Pakistan has plunged to a new low after an attack carried out at an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir allegedly by militants from Pakistan that killed 19 Indian soldiers in September. India, reportedly retaliated with surgical strikes across LoC in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir targeting terror launchpads.
India and Pakistan have stopped playing bilateral cricket series since 2012. Also, India's cash-rich cricket tournament, Indian Premier League, has been devoid of any player from the country's neighbours since the second edition.
Amidst constant war mongering, even Indian films facing Pakistani artists are facing problems as protests against the involvement of actors from the neighbouring countries are becoming intense. Even Pakistan recently did away with their self-imposed three-month ban on Indian films after cinemas were reportedly hit by dip in revenue.