Afridi`s hearing should be in open: Lawyer

Karachi: The stand-off between Pakistan cricket Board and allrounder Shahid Afridi turned worse on Sunday with the lawyer representing the player demanding that his disciplinary hearing be held in open and not behind closed doors.

Reliable sources close to Afridi stated that he was still not sure about attending the disciplinary hearing on June 8 if his lawyers and media were not allowed to attend.

"Afridi has reservations over the way the hearing is being conducted," one source said.

A board official said that the law firm had written again to them wanting to attend the hearing and making it clear it appeared as if the board had already decided about punishing the allrounder.

The former captain`s legal representative Barrister Syed Zafar Ali in the letter questioned the legality of any closed session while stressing that the `PCB has already made up its mind and that Afridi is guilty`.

"The PCB wants a closed session of the hearing which is unconstitutional in this country," Ali said. "The hearing, along with PCB`s act against Afridi, is illegal."

Afridi`s lawyer had earlier said that their priority was to get the matter resolved amicably.

However, they have kept all options of taking on an aggressive approach open, if things do not work out favourably for the all-rounder.

The board has scheduled the hearing after Afridi, in his reply to the show cause notice issued to him, admitted he had breached his central contract code of conduct clauses and said he was prepared to face any disciplinary hearing.

But in the same letter, Afridi had asked the board to give him permission to play for English county, Hampshire but his request was turned down on disciplinary ground.

The allrounder has been forced to return home from England (later tonight) after the board revoked the NOC`s issued to him to play for English county Hampshire.

The board has also cancelled his central contract and held all his payments besides show causing him after Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket last Monday in protest over the way the board had treated him.

He had launched a scathing critical campaign against the board officials, a national selector and national team coach, Waqar Younis and manager, Intikhab Alam.

The allrounder was sacked as captain of the one-day team after he returned from the West Indies following his team`s 3-2 series win. He had complained of interference in his work
by the other members of the team management.

The board responded by axing him as captain but retained him as player for the one-day series against Ireland where Misbah-ul-Haq led the one-day side but Afridi withdraw from
the series saying he had to be with his father who is under treatment in the United States.

Lawyer Ali said that the act of suspending his client`s contract was illegal as was the act of revoking his NOCs to play in foreign leagues.

"He should have first been given an opportunity to explain his point of view."

Meanwhile, PCB officials are insisting that proceedings of the committee will be conducted in-camera and no outsider will be allowed to attend it.

"This is an internal disciplinary hearing and does not require legal assistance," said a board official.

"The process is crystal-clear and any announcement by the committee depends upon the defense`s reply. The announcement might come on the same day or may take more than one day. So it all depends on the arguments given in the hearing."


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