LAHORE: Fans and amateur players staged a small demonstration in Model Town on Wednesday in support of the Pakistani cricketers accused of involvement in spot-fixing matches.
A day earlier, angry fans at a demonstration in Samanabad had demanded that captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir be brought back to Pakistan and punished. The demonstrators threw rotten tomatoes at a donkey labelled with the accused players’ names
But in Model Town on Wednesday, dozens of demonstrators voiced support for the team and criticised the English media’s coverage of the allegations. “We trust our players and believe the ongoing debacle is a conspiracy against our national team,” one supporter said.
“Whenever Pakistan cricket finds any success at the international level, some scandal is created to malign the image of Pakistan and its heroes,” he said. Many of the demonstrators were club cricketers who have played with the likes of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, Butt and the two fast bowlers.
One 20-year-old supporter criticised Veena Malik, the ex-girlfriend of Asif who has alleged the fast bowler has been involved with bookies for a long time.
“She is doing nothing but extracting cheap publicity by linking herself to our national hero,” he yelled in front of a camera. Two lines of marching supporters held placards and shouted slogans for 30 minutes before dispersing.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2010.
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