Qayyum lashes out at ICC for suspension of Pak players

Karachi: Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, who headed a judicial inquiry into match-fixing in Pakistan 10 years ago, today termed as "unacceptable and unfair", the ICC decision to suspend the three cricketers without revealing the evidence against them.

ICC provisionally suspended Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammed Asif, five days after a British tabloid alleged that three players were involved in spot-fixing.

"From a legal point of view it is unacceptable to charge players and suspend them without revealing the evidence against them," Qayyum told PTI on Friday after the press conference by ICC chief executive, Haroon Lorgat and the ACSU chief, Sir Ronnie Flannigan.

The retired judge said the evidence should be made public.

"I don`t think it is fair to suspend the players without telling us the reasons why they were suspended and if the Pakistan Cricket Board has been shown evidence, it should make it public," he said.

Qayyum who recommended a life ban on former captain Salim Malik and fines on five other players after his inquiry, said it was always easy to make match fixing allegations but very difficult to prove them.

"I questioned and cross examined some 53 witnesses during my inquiry after which I recommended the life ban and fines on players," he noted.

Qayyum felt the tainted trio should not be crucified in the media without anyone knowing what the evidence was against them.

"I think our board needs to be very firm on this. After all we are talking about the lives and careers of three people. Our team are guests in England and it is unfair that they are being tried in a foreign country without anyone knowing about the evidence.”

"What kind of justice is this that players are suspended and branded criminals without the prosecutors first making the evidence clear. It is not fair to condemn the players like this," said Qayyum.

The former attorney general of Pakistan also took a dig at the Anti Corruption and Security Unit of the world body saying since its formation it had done nothing remarkable.

"I think our board and our legal team must now play a proactive role in clearing these players. And I tell you if they are not found guilty the English laws on defamation are very strong and our players should sue the ICC, ACSU and the News of the World," he said.

Qayyum also said he couldn`t understand the purpose of ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat and ACSU chief Ronnie Flannigan having a press conference when investigations against the players were still on and when legally they couldn`t discuss the charges or evidence found against the Pakistani players.