It’s not easy to cheat

Published: November 21, 2010

The writer is a dentist and blogs at Teeth Maestro awab.alvi@tribune.com.pk

Like everyone, the devil inside me pushes the mind to cheat, be it in an exam or cutting a long queue at an immigration desk. Why I refuse to fall prey to the devil has little to do with my sense of righteousness, it is an overwhelming fear of being caught. Remove that fear, and I might end up cheating. The twist to this logic is that if I get away with it the first time, I’ll be bolder the second time; it’s human nature.

This is why in Pakistan the influential elite fearlessly waltz through every sense of order, blatantly challenging authority, knowing their elevated status in society prohibits them from getting caught. Lest they accidentally fall through the cracks, a few bribes are enough to get them back in action. Discipline is kept in check with the imminent fear of being caught, remove that fear and chaos will overwhelm the community.

What happened to Zulqarnain Haider on the morning of that crucial decider in Dubai remains shrouded in mystery — he flew to London seeking protection from an army of bookies in the UAE and Pakistan. What most agree upon is that the perceived threat to him was severe enough that he abandoned the game without reporting to the team management, the governing cricketing body or even the Dubai police, all of whom he did not trust.

Step into his shoes for a moment — an all-powerful betting mafia asks him to underperform, with over 13 cameras focused on his every move, transmitting live to millions of viewers across the world. It requires a poker face and b**ls of steel to cheat in such circumstances. A difficult task for an inexperienced cheater to pull off, as guilt would be plastered all over his face. This request came hot in the footsteps of a serious investigation already underway where three fellow cricketers were caught underperforming on camera.

It was probably in London while talking to authorities that Haider may have first learnt about the term whistleblower, a person whose consciousness refuses to be part of a corrupt system and compels him to report to authorities. Many a times, the whistleblower carefully plans his exit strategy, collecting a detailed breadcrumb trail of evidence, leveraging it for his protection after shit hits the fan. Zulqarnain planned nothing as such, he came under pressure and ran purely on emotion, a phone log and a panicked series of stories — it’s his word against theirs. Did he expect to be awarded asylum on that basis? I believe his mind barely thought through this plan with such intricate detail, he merely went searching for someone to trust and some authority who would not feed him back to the hawks.

Zulqarnain refused to sell his motherland to the highest bidder — was this an act of patriotism or for the fear of being caught? Either way, we must support such people. By disgracing Zulqarnain we have set a precedence to say that Pakistanis will ridicule anyone who tries to be honest and patriotic, while showering accolades to those who are corrupt, even electing them to the highest office of the state. We must cleanse those involved in the betting menace. If that is difficult, then turn up the heat enough so that it needs b**ls of steel to cheat the system. But please don’t disgrace attempts by people at being honest.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2010.

Reader Comments (13)

  • dr.imran ahmed siddiqui
    Nov 21, 2010 - 11:49PM

    Dont make zulqarnain a hero yet,what kind of a man leaves his family in danger and chicken out to some other country to save his life.there are thousands of people in this country who gets threatened everyday for one reason or another,how many of them run away to some other country? Even those who run away don’t leave their families behind like Mr.zulqarnain did.
    After reaching England he criticized Greats like Shahid afridi and Wasim Akram for not supporting him.there are other stories about him circulating in media which questions his state of mind.
    We should all wait for the real truth to come out first and then decide who has the balls of steel and who doesn’t have balls.Recommend

  • qasim
    Nov 22, 2010 - 2:30AM

    very well written. Agree totally with the article’s point of view.Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan
    Nov 22, 2010 - 4:25AM

    ZH has done the right thing. The mafia is so strong it can even kill you.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh
    Nov 22, 2010 - 10:31AM

    We dont know exact details as yet, lets wait and seeRecommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2010 - 11:35AM

    Nonsense… He betrayed the trust of the team and national fans… he aint no hero.
    Its probably all about getting british passport/citizenship and playing county…

    Plus, this is an old story. Pls move on.Recommend

  • MAD
    Nov 22, 2010 - 11:43AM

    @Anwar Hussain

    True. Hansie Cronje, Bob Woolmer and ofcourse the infamous bookie who dared to allegedly fix (it is ana llegation but his murder shortly afterwards does indicate that there is some truth to this) the Pakistan England game in Sharjah in 1999.

    is it a coincedence that players who have spoken out against match fixing have had their careers curtailed e.g. Rashid LatifRecommend

  • nadir rehman
    Nov 22, 2010 - 11:52AM

    I think he has done many patriots would do in the situation as he cites. he should not have been denounced by the PCB, rather he must have been exalted. As I see truth in his claims because no man on earth can do such mess for any other reason.Recommend

  • JI
    Nov 22, 2010 - 12:33PM

    Doc, couldn’t agree with you moreRecommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Nov 22, 2010 - 1:18PM

    Not to be insensitive , but has any of you heard ANY of his interviews on live television? or are you just reading bbc or other news sources to make up your mind?

    I heard all his interviews, and I do not agree with your point of view on the guy . If you can you should listen to the guy first then praise him for being a national hero or something. The story is weak and the guy is unfortunately is not a hero however you would want that to be . Recommend

  • Nadia Bari
    Nov 22, 2010 - 6:14PM

    he could have just faked illness of injury to get out of the game – why run to the UK? It doesnt add up.Recommend

  • Indian
    Nov 23, 2010 - 7:18PM

    Well Mr. Alvi, first of all we all must know that any international team sport, be it cricket, hockey, and football etc were corrupt, are corrupt, and will always be corrupt, but Dubai is very safe place now. Dubai is not like India, Pakistan, England, SA, or Australia. So, all this story about threatened by bookie in Dubai, is unbelievable. What I can guess is that Dubai laws are very harsh against fixing, cheating etc, so Zulqarnain probably got scared and ran away to England, the paradise of betting. This episode only points to the fact that international matches are getting fixed around the world, and I will thank Zulqarnain for bringing this fact to people. ICC headquarters should remain in Dubai. I have made a simple rule to find out whether a match is fixed or not. If the match is nailbiting, 99% it is fixed. All that stuff in television, where captains bite their nail in final moments are all made up. Looking forward to Ashes, the best fixture in cricket.Recommend

  • Indian
    Nov 23, 2010 - 9:56PM

    Again try to understand it from another angle. We all know media is most corrupt element in this world, and media has immense liking for cricket, so how can cricket be pure? Go back in memory in 90s, most corrupt period in world of cricket. How were those matches? every match will go to wire, nailbiting etc. Shame of cricket is that a person like Azhar, who was kingpin of fixing in 90s, is in the parliament of India, and we are targetting Pakistan!!!! If at all a team needs to be banned first, it should be India. Now Jadeja and Usuf are back in Indian team. God save the Indian team.Recommend

  • Imran Masud
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:29AM

    Well done mate, a very positive point of viewRecommend

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