Karachi: The judge who headed the biggest cricket corruption judicial inquiry in Pakistan has backed the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer to be given a second chance.
Justice (Retd) Malik Qayyum told PTI from Lahore that since the three players had been punished for their spot- fixing crime and the ICC had also cleared them to play domestic or international cricket they deserved a second chance.
"I know there is a strong opinion that to set the right example against corruption in cricket the Pakistan cricket Board should never select these three in the national side again," Qayyum said.
"Ethically if you look at this case it is another thing but in legal terms and keeping in fair justice you cannot deny them a fair second chance," he said.
Qayyum headed a nearly 18-month inquiry into the match- fixing scandal surrounding Pakistan cricket between 1998 and 2000 and in his final findings, he recommended life bans on former captain Salim Malik and pacer Ata ur Rehman while imposing fines ranging from half a million to 100,000 rupees on six players including the current Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis and bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed.
The retired judge made it clear that since his recommendations were not binding on the government not all of them were implemented in letter and spirit.
"Maybe if they had enforced some of my important recommendations the spot-fixing scandal or the Danish Kaneria case would not have taken place in England," Qayyum, of the Lahore High Court, said.
He made it clear that he was not happy to see some of those players given key managerial positions and responsibilities.
"Perhaps these players have atoned for their sins as even our religion allows forgiveness. But I had also recommended that before a player comes into the Pakistan team his complete assets should be checked by the board and so after every series, but this also was not implemented," he lamented.
Qayyum said that clear amendments in the constitution of the country and Pakistan board were required to treat corruption cases in cricket as criminal acts and there should be special laws to prosecute the guilty.
"Until this is done we might see a repeat of corruption scandals. Because if I recall at least six Pakistan managers and four or five captains admitted during the judicial inquiry that yes match fixing had taken place in Pakistan cricket," Qayyum said.
But he noted that some other players and officials had
also backed out of their claims and allegations which made the task of the judicial inquiry more difficult.
"I was very upset with Ata ur Rehman for lying before the commission and committing perjury, that is why I recommended a life ban on him but he is also active now in cricket as a coach. I recommended ban on Malik because I found substantial evidence to show his involvement in fixing while the players were fined for not cooperating with the judicial inquiry," he added.
When contacted it was interesting that Ijaz Butt, who was the chairman of PCB when the spot-fixing scandal took place in 2010 during a tour of England, also supported giving another chance to the three players.
"The punishments they got were deserved. Especially Salman Butt... He was mainly responsible for all that had happened. But once the ICC has also ended their bans than it would not be fair to stop them from trying to earn a place in domestic or international cricket," Butt said.