‘Most Pakistani players are involved in match-fixing’
KARACHI: The menace of match-fixing could be in the spotlight again after the issue came under discussion at a meeting of the Senate’s standing committee on sports in Islamabad on Monday.
In fact, one of the senators said that match-fixing is the biggest problem for Pakistan cricket, stressing that most of the national players have links to it.
“The main problem in the Pakistan team is gambling and match-fixing. Most of the members of the Pakistan team are involved in it,” Senator Enver Baig, who was specially invited to attend the meeting, told ‘The News’.
“The PCB committed a huge mistake by ignoring the findings of the Justice Qayyum report. They should have made it their top priority to eradicate this menace but it is a great misfortune that they didn’t which is why our cricket continues to suffer,” he stressed.
Baig, who was an active member of the previous Senate committee, also said that the PCB should not allow Pakistani players to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) calling the lucrative Twenty20 spectacle a “den of gambling”.
“India has become a big bookie centre and the IPL especially is a gambling den. PCB should ensure that our players stay away from it,” he said.
Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, the committee chairman, told ‘The News’ that match-fixing is certainly one of the issues which his committee plans to probe in the future.
Pakistan cricket was hit hard in the nineties after some of its leading players were accused of match-fixing. Former Pakistan captain Salim Malik was banned while several others were fined following an inquiry conducted by Justice Qayyum.
During the meeting, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt was severely grilled over various issues including the constitution, the PCB Governing Board, his row with Javed Miandad — the PCB’s director-general.
Butt claimed that the PCB Governing Board members have served their term and are no more functional.
“He (Butt) told us that the members have retired last October and they can’t function any more. But the (PCB) constitution says that they can continue,” said Baig.
“When Butt was confronted he said that he will consult a lawyer. We told him that you don’t have to do that because the constitution is very clear about this whole issue. Then Butt said that ‘I will sack them’. But we told him that according to the constitution only the PCB’s chief patron can remove them. The man hasn’t even read the constitution of the PCB and he is working as it chairman. It’s ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, a sub-committee was formed to help resolve an ugly war of words that is going on between Butt and Miandad.
There were allegations and counter-allegations between Butt and Miandad during the meeting after a four-member sub-committee headed by Ghaffar Qureshi was formed.
The sub-committee includes Senators Jahangir Badar, Haroon Akhtar and Tahir Mashadi.
“The war that is going on between the PCB chairman and its director-general is portraying a very sorry picture of Pakistan cricket,” said Ghaffar Qureshi. “It is having a very negative impact which we have formed a sub-committee which will help resolve this issue,” he said.
Senator Mashadi was of the opinion that the PCB has mistreated Miandad, whom he said was one of the greatest cricketers Pakistan has ever produced.
Miandad and Butt are currently involved in a bitter tussle with both of them openly hurling allegations at each other. Miandad says that the Butt-led PCB has not allowed him enough room to contribute towards Pakistan cricket. However, Butt denies it and claims that the former Pakistan captain just wants to take his salary without performing his duties.
Speaking on another issue, Qureshi said that Butt alleged that the PCB constitution hasn’t been in place because some changes were mysteriously made after a meeting of the committee that was entrusted with the responsibility of putting a new constitution in place.
Senator Haroon was upset at the PCB for not providing the committee with its audit report for the year ending June 2009.