London: A `star` Pakistani cricketer has been jailed for 20 months for trying to falsely marry a British woman whom he had never met for the sole purpose of gaining permanent residency in the UK.
39-year-old Javid Iqbal, described as a `star`, played for Holmfirth, Skelmanthorpe and Almondbury in the Drakes League.
Iqbal arrived in the UK in 2008 and played for several minor country cricket teams.
He and four others, including the `bride` pleaded guilty to attempting to commit a breach of immigration law.
The Home Office said Iqbal was part of the gang of five people who attempted to stage the marriage at Huddersfield Register Office last April.
The five have now been sentenced to jail at the Leeds Crown Court.
Officers from the UK Border Agency interrupted Iqbal`s `wedding` after receiving information that it was a sham (bogus) marriage.
Three other people - British `bride` Natalie Roberts and `guests` Craig Hughes, (who is Roberts` boyfriend) and fellow cricketer Mohammed Taj - were also arrested.
A fifth gang member, Salim Mullan, was arrested at a later date in Leicester.
Noting that Iqbal had been in the UK since 2008, the Home Office said that the bogus marriage was organised by Mullan, Taj and Hughes.
Iqbal paid 5,000 pounds to the fixers.
Roberts and Iqbal also pleaded guilty to perjury.
First Published: Friday, July 06, 2012, 20:24