Despite India's Best Efforts, Some Pakistani Fans Sneak Into Narendra Modi Stadium

In a sea of 120,000 fans donning blue shirts, their green shirts were but specks, and their voices drowned after they travelled from Houston to support their team

Despite India's Best Efforts, Some Pakistani Fans Sneak Into Narendra Modi Stadium

On Saturday, some 120,000 people packed the Narendra Modi Stadium in the Indian prime minister's home state of Gujarat for one of cricket and possibly sports biggest clash, India versus Pakistan. Despite efforts by India to ensure that Pakistani fans could not make it to support their team and make it a completely All-India affair, some Pakistani fans managed to make it into the stadium.

India had virtually stonewalled efforts by Pakistani fans to obtain visas to visit stadiums in India and support their team. So much so that even the Pakistan cricket team got their visas at the eleventh hour after an intervention by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Some Pakistanis who did get visas faced such conditions that they had to leave India, fearing for their safety. 

However, some Pakistanis used their non-Pakistani nationalities to 'sneak' into India.

Pakistan-origin and Pakistan-supporting friends Mohammad Uzair, Asif Syed Ali and Mohammad Basheer from the USA travelled to Ahmedabad, India, to support the Men in Green.

Despite their American nationality, they had to undergo a lengthy visa process. After arriving in India earlier in October, they visited New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh before making their way to Ahmedabad. They sported the green Pakistan team jerseys and a banner with Pakistan and India flags.

A smattering of other Pakistan-origin cricket fans have also shown up in Ahmedabad. 

With Pakistan and India divided through the Partition, many on both sides of the border still have family across the fence. In finding work and new lives abroad, many others have found partners and relations with people from across the border.

On the other hand, the Pakistani team has been receiving royal treatment wherever they go, not simply from the authorities but also from Indian fans queuing up to get their pictures taken with the Pakistani players.

An advertisement taken out by travel company MakeMyTrip in digital and print papers aimed at "Pakistani fans" went viral ahead of the match on Saturday.

The ad taunted Pakistanis with lines such as "hope you won't mind us playing a good host", "staying true to the Indian tradition of 'Atithi Devo Bhava'" (Guest is God) and discount codes that would be applicable in the event Pakistan loses and listed a series of embarrassing losing scenarios including loss by ten wickets or 200 runs and a 50% discount on using the code: "BoysPlayedWell" (a harkback to a phrase used most commonly by Pakistan team captains made famous by Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Selector and former Pakistan national cricket team captain Inzimamul Haq).

A second scenario offered a 30% discount if Pakistan lost by six wickets or 100 runs with the code "EkShaheenHaar" - a reference to Pakistani pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and his struggles after returning from injury.

The last discount code was for 10% if Pakistan lost by three wickets or 50 runs with the code "NoMaukaMauka" - a reference to a viral Indian ad campaign from the last World Cup that hyped up the rivalry between the two nations.

The ad listed their partner, Homestays & Villas, who came out to denounce the ad campaign, vehemently denying that their properties were open to Pakistanis, stating that their "country comes first before any business".