Former England striker talks about Balochistan after hosting Baloch refugee

Former England striker Gary Lineker hosted a Baloch refugee, who came to his house in August, for 20 days and, by the looks of it, he is not a bad host.

“During my stay at your beautiful home, I never felt that I am a stranger or guest but it seemed to me as if I am a member of your family,” the guest, Rasheed, said in a hand-written note, which Lineker tweeted to his 7.7 million followers on October 29. “There is a saying in Balochi language that if you give me a glass of water, I owe you in my entire life. In fact you did more.”

Lineker was all praise for Rasheed too, calling him a ‘super guy, really bright, very generous and warm and kind’. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday, he said Rasheed got along pretty well with his sons and even cooked for them one night while he was away, working. He is the host of BBC’s football highlights show Match of the Day.

The 59-year-old also touched upon the Balochistan problem when asked why Rasheed had to seek refuge in the UK. “He’s had to flee a place called Balochistan, which is actually part of Pakistan now. It was, I think, about 1948 when Britain divided up a few countries, they kind of gave half of Balochistan to Iran and half to Pakistan. He actually wants to get independence for his country. He’s fled there because a lot of people every day are going missing in these countries for years and years and years.”

Lineker often criticises the UK government’s ‘heartless’ response to the issue of refugees and is often trolled on Twitter for it, with people asking him why he does not have ‘them’ in his house. That is one of the reasons he decided to offer room at his home in Surrey, England, via charity Refugees at Home and got the opportunity to host Rasheed.

One of the most recognisable men in the UK because of football, Lineker, in a lighter mood, said that Rasheed did not have much interest in sports and only knew who his host was with the help of Google. However, he was visibly touched by Rasheed’s note of gratitude. He tweeted it with the following comments: “This letter alone made it worthwhile. Thanks Rasheed for giving such a different perspective on life to both myself and my boys.”