KARACHI: While Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamir were ‘dropped’ from Pakistan’s squad for the remainder of the tour, officials close to the High Commission have confirmed to The Express Tribune that the trio will not face any charges in order to avoid a deterioration of the UK-Pakistan ties.
The trio’s omission, reported to have come courtesy pressure from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as well as the International Cricket Council (ICC) and also seen as a compromise between all parties, came yesterday morning when the Pakistani players visited London.
“Mazhar Majeed’s release on bail without any charge was quite surprising given the way he was arrested and then re-arrested,” the official told The Express Tribune. “The trio’s omission from the limited-overs squad is a compromise reached between the two boards and the three cricketers will walk away free too.”
The trio travelled down to London from Taunton for discussions and meetings with the PCB chairman as well as the Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan. While the players or the board refrained from making comments, Hasan declared them innocent – before questionning the authenticity of the video – the first time they have been backed by the quarters since the allegations surfaced late Saturday evening.
Players ‘extremely disturbed’
“They are extremely disturbed with what has happened in the past one week, especially with regard to their alleged involvement in the crime,” said Hasan. “They have mentioned that they are innocent of the whole episode and shall defend their innocence as such.
“They maintain that on account of the mental torture that has deeply affected them, they’re not in the right frame of mind to play, therefore they have requested the PCB not to consider them until their names are cleared.”
Lack of communication
In what seems to be yet another episode of lack of communication among various Pakistan team quarters, team manager Yawar Saeed said the trio had been dropped and replacements will be considered. However, Hasan’s words echoed the notion that Salman, Asif and Aamir had opted out of the series due to the strain they were put under by the spot-fixing allegations.
“The three players are innocent until proven guilty. They are under interrogation so they have to defend themselves. They are bright young men, one of them has just broken a world record, and we will go to a court of law to defend them.”
Asked whether he believed the players may have been framed, he replied, “Yes, I would say that.”
Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal
“The players would definitely not have felt good about this investigation while playing which is the reason why they have been omitted.”
Former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia
“I think the PCB should have waited for the police inquiry to be completed before taking this decision of dropping the players.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2010.
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