x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

PCB told Haider's nerves 'weak'

Pakistan player fled Dubai during series with South Africa to seek asylum in London.

Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport from Dubai last month.
Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport from Dubai last month.

ISLAMABAD // Zulqarnain Haider, the wicketkeeper who sought asylum in London last month, has a complex personality and "weak nerves", a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee was told.

Zulqarnain fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai in November 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 PCB committee recommended that the board request more information from Zulqarnain because it is unclear why he fled.

"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," read the report - a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press yesterday.

The report said that the 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 Zulqarnain "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, the team manager Intikhab Alam and the former security manager Khawaja Najam Javed.

Shahid Aslam, Pakistan's assistant manager, and the former captain Younus Khan last saw Zulqarnain walking out of his hotel room at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai with a backpack on the morning of November 8, when Pakistan were due to play South Africa in the fifth and final one-day international (ODI).

Zulqarnain 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.

Zulqarnain had requested his passport from 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 Zulqarnain appeared "normal and not worried".

In a telephone conversation with Ahmed and Najam, Zulqarnain 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 surrounding the team hotel before the fourth ODI against South Africa.

"He [Zulqarnain] 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 Zulqarnain saw a note in his room "which was on the hotel notepad on which some amounts and female names were mentioned which has been given to Scotland Yard".

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

The committee was surprised that Zulqarnain 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 Zulqarnain'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.