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PCB chief contacts Haider, assures safety

Updated: Nov 11, 2010, 22:43 PM IST

Karachi: The Cricket Board here has finally got in touch with troubled wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider who also met with the Pakistan High Commissioner in the United Kingdom on Thursday.

Zulqarnain who fled from the team hotel in Dubai last Monday to land in London where he has applied for asylum because of threats to his life said PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt had called him up.

“I got a call from the Chairman on Thursday and he inquired about the circumstances leading to my decision to leave the team and come to London,” Zulqarnain told PTI.

“I told him everything and he has assured me the board will do everything possible to ensure security of me and my family and will do everything to help me out,” the wicketkeeper said.

The PCB contacted Zulqarnain a day after he held a press conference in London in which he confirmed he had received death threats for not agreeing to fix matches in the just concluded one-day series against South Africa in Dubai.

He also told the press conference that he had taken no money from anyone and the authorities can check his accounts if they want.

On his decision of not returning to Pakistan, Zulqarnain said when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was not safe and was attacked in Pakistan how could he be safe after all he was just an ordinary cricketer.

“I told Butt sahib why I took this decision, I told him clearly I am under lot of mental stress and pressure but there is no way I regret my decision because I could never be part of any conspiracy to defraud Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Zulqarnain later also met with the Pakistan commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan who has assured him even legal assistance.

“The high commissioner was kind enough to offer me legal assistance and also said that apart from seeking asylum if I wanted to stay in the UK they were other ways they could arrange it,” he said.

Wajid said he had met with the player to find out why he took such a big step.

Sources said that the high commissioner met with Zulqarnain after getting instructions from the Presidency to find out why the youngster had fled the team hotel in Dubai.

Zulqarnain said he was hopeful of getting asylum in the UK and for the moment had no plans to return to Pakistan.

He also dismissed suggestions that he wanted to get back into the Pakistan team.

“Right now they are other things on my mind I am not even thinking about playing cricket,” he stressed.

PTI