11 Nov 2010

Pakistani cricketer seeks asylum in UK

Pakistani cricketer Zulqarnain Haider confirms he has sought asylum in the UK. The 24-year old claims he received death threats for refusing to fix matches.

The wicketkeeper held a news conference on Wednesday night two days after fleeing Dubai for London.

He told reporters he had no choice: “If your family receive threats then you would think the same as me.

“When you get threats for your family and for me, at that time I just want peace and all the pressure off me.”

“I don’t want any aid from the Government, I am a cricketer and I want to be a good citizen.” Zulqarnain Haider

Haider claims he was threatened after refusing to fix two matches.

The 24-year-old scored the winning runs in Friday’s one-day international against South Africa, making 19 not out.

He said he was approached by a man in Dubai who had wanted him to fix the fourth and fifth games.

Just before Monday’s decider, Haider asked the team management for his passport saying he needed it to get a SIM card for his mobile phone. He then left for London without telling them what had happened.

Haider confirmed he has sought asylum in the UK: “When I came here, at the airport they needed proof for me to be in the UK. They offered me asylum so I said OK.

“At that time I told them I don’t want any aid from the Government, I am a cricketer, I am a young player and I want to be a good citizen.”

Pakistani cricketer Zulqarnain Haider has sought asylum in the UK (Reuters)

Tougher stance on corruption

Zulqarnain Haider’s sole Test appearance was against England during the ill-fated series this summer when he broke his finger and missed the rest of the series which was overshadowed by allegations of match-fixing.

Haider said he supported tougher measures to stamp out corruption: “I think the best way is to record all the players’ phones and all their activities, where they are going.”

The 24-year old said he had not gone to the authorities because he did not want to create problems for his team-mates.

The Pakistan Cricket Board says it has launched an inquiry into the case.