PCB seeks details of Zulqarnain’s asylum claim

Islamabad: A Pakistan Cricket Board committee was told that wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, who has sought asylum in London last month, has a complex personality and “weak nerves”.

In November, Haider fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai and flew to London seeking asylum, claiming he received death threats in an attempt to make him throw matches against South Africa.

The three-member committee recommended that the PCB request more information from Haider because it is unclear why the wicketkeeper quit the team and left the United Arab Emirates for London.

“It is difficult to state with absolute confidence at this stage as to what were the motives of Zulqarnain to quit the team since the committee is not in the know of complete facts,” the report - a copy of which was obtained by the reporters states.

“... PCB should write to Zulqarnain seeking complete written details of the entire episode and in the light of those details (if received), PCB may decide on whether to proceed with taking disciplinary action against Zulqarnain.”

The committee interviewed Pakistan team members and support staff, and were told that Haider “is a person who is easily convinced into believing whatever is said to him.”

The committee was made up of the PCB’s newly appointed chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed, team manager Intikhab Alam and former security manager Khawaja Najam Javed.

Pakistan assistant manager Shahid Aslam and former captain Younis Khan last saw Haider walking out of his hotel room with a backpack on the morning of November 8, when Pakistan was due to play South Africa in the fifth and final ODI.

Haider told the team official he was going to meet with relatives.

“PCB has implemented strict curfew timings for late night and hence it was assumed that in compliance with these instructions Zulqarnain was meeting with relatives in the morning,” the report said.

The wicketkeeper had requested his passport from team manager Alam the previous evening, saying he needed it to purchase a mobile phone SIM card.

The report also said that fast bowler Wahab Riaz was in Zulqarnain’s room until around midnight on the same evening and in his view the wicketkeeper appeared “normal and not worried.”

In a telephone conversation with Ahmed and Najam, Haider said he did not trust members of the team’s management after death threats against him and his family were made in the parking area of the team hotel before the fourth ODI against South Africa.

“He (Haider) met a person who said to him that he must do what he is told to do in cricket else he and his family would be killed,” the report said.

Later Haider saw a note in his room “which was on the hotel notepad on which some amounts and female names were mentioned which has given to Scotland Yard.”

However, the committee report also stated that Haider could not answer why he left the team without speaking to anyone.

The committee was surprised that Haider opted to leave the team on the morning of the fifth ODI despite receiving the threats after the fourth ODI.

It was also told by Haider’s associates that during his last visit to Britain with the Pakistan team during the summer, the wicketkeeper had made inquiries into settling down in the UK.


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