Reinstate Salman, Asif and Aamir

Published: February 9, 2013

Butt, Asif and Aamir must be reinstated with the ICC at once.

Salman Butt, former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, recently pleaded for a revival of his career, which was truncated after he was banned for spot-fixing in a Test against England in 2010.

His fellow pacemen Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir were also banned by the ICC after being found guilty of deliberately contriving no-balls.

So did their offence deserve such punishment?

The English Premier League in Europe was recently tied to a match-fixing scandal. Liverpool’s 2009 Champions League match against Debrecen is now being deliberated as a fixed event. Europol director Rob Wainwright had announced that a Champions League match played in recent years was among 680 matches worldwide that were allegedly fixed.

The Daily Mirror writes,

“[Europol] reports in Denmark allege that Debrecen were approached to concede more than 2.5 goals by the Singapore-based gambling syndicate whose tentacles spread into 30 countries across the globe.”

The Europol investigation further revealed that Australia was also not immune from the match-fixing bug. The Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the country’s top intelligence organisation, issued a report which found one potential case of match-fixing.

The ACC gave no details of the concerned match or sport, but it pledged to crack down on the growing influence of organised crime on sports.

At a press conference in The Hague, Europol revealed that match-rigging was rampant in Turkey, Germany and Switzerland, among other countries.

Clearly, this issue is not exclusive to Pakistan.

Everyone cheats.

Human beings are corruptible, especially in Pakistan where corruption is endemic.

Salman Butt, who was actually imprisoned by a British court over the spot-fixing matter, said the ICC ban was a career-ending punishment and he’s absolutely right.

When one considers his offence, one can’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of people who have committed far worse crimes in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Butt, Asif and Aamir must be reinstated with the ICC at once.

I think they have been punished for long enough and not only them, but the whole team has learnt a lesson from the fate meted to them.

Let’s face it, our team could be much, much stronger with three key players who are in their prime, playing for us again.

We deserve it and so do they.

The ban serves as an unnecessary chastisement, which sets a horrid precedent for the perception of justice in Pakistan.

Follow Saif on Twitter @AreYouSaif


Saif Ali

A sub-editor at the Web desk at The Express Tribune. He tweets @AreYouSaif. saif.ali (AT)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

More by this writer

  • khan

    hang these crooks till deathRecommend

  • Queen

    I do not agree. Being an overseas Pakistan, it is difficult for me to forget the humiliation Pakistanis had to face all over the world when these three players were found involved in spot-fixing. I think we should give chance to new talent. Recommend

  • Vishnu Dutta

    Let them play in Pakistan Premier league.

    They both need each other.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Murder and Thefts happen everywhere. Why are only Pakistani murderers and thieves put in jail?

    Look at US, it kills so many people with drones and there are many corporates who cheated people and stole their money and sent the world into recession, who is going jail there?

    So let out all the Murderers and Thieves in Pakistan. After all they are Humans too, don’t they deserve a shot at normal life, just like you and me? Why are Governments so evil? Recommend

  • Saeed

    Regretfully disagree with your assessment. We are so immune to corruption that we try and justify it by saying that it is not endemic to Pakistan alone. So what if the whole sporting world is involved in corruption, does that somehow makes it acceptable? Maybe to the author and maybe to our current leaders but not to any decent self respecting human. These cricketers should be banned for life as an example to others. They have brought enough shame and humiliation to the nation, second only to our corrupt politicians. When these youngsters look at our rulers what else are they going to do but emulate them. Recommend

  • Saadat

    All these three had brought a bad name to Pakistan and should be given no lineancy! especially Butt and Asif should be banned from cricket for the rest of their lives, Amir could be given a concession as he not only was pretty young at the time but also immediately accepted that he had committed the mistake on say of the other two seniors! But the other two crooks no chance!Recommend

  • Satu

    Totally disagree with the writer. These people brought shame to pakistan. Its because of people like these that were left unpunished in the 90’s that pakistan cricket is in such a dilemma today. check the media reports. They roamed around innocent until they were PROVEN guilty. salman butt has changed his statments atleast a dozen times in the past year and a half regarding reasons of money found in his bags. If the entire world is involved in corruption does that give us the right to be corrupt. These people need to be dealt with in a manner that serves as an example for all the rest. Shame to these cricketers and shame to all the people who support their place back in the team. Recommend

  • Ibex

    Ban them for life time, along with Misbahul-Haq, Akmal trio, Shahid Afridi…
    Select me as their prosecutor, i would love to carry out the punishment :DRecommend

  • mansoor

    The writer has taken stupidty to a new level. Cheaters should be punished. Recommend

  • Amir

    These disgusting creatures must not be allowed within 10 miles of any sporting field.Recommend

  • batman

    Wow. Its incredible that something like this can end up on the Tribune website. The logics you have presented sound like something from a grade 6 kid. Just because people have done “far worse” and have gotten away with it, doesn’t make their crime any less. Think about it. By that logic no one would ever be punished. Recommend

  • Asad

    Shoot these corrupt cricketers There is millions of Young Pkaitsni can play much better than these three, If chances are given to them.Recommend

  • kanwal

    I dont care if no other such match fixer from any other nation is captured and punished. I want the team pakistan to be clean. So that means these 3 should be shown the door for ever. And i include Amir bcoz he was big enough to play and take decisions so he can pay the price too. He is nt the last good cricketer we are going to produce. We have enough talent jn cricket to get along fine without the people who can sell their national pride and cap so cheap. Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Is this blog from The Onion? Recommend

  • Javed

    And set a perfect example for the rest of the guys in the team. A couple of years thats it. Thats the price you have to pay for a bucket full of cash.Recommend

  • Shahyan

    Everyone does it. Why can’t we? THIS is what is wrong with Pakistan. What a terrible article.Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    Is the date right on this one? I think you meant to publish this on April Fools Day.

    What a trivialization of the principle of integrity! Everyone does it so it is not wrong, huh? Recommend

  • http://h h

    This is poor level of blogs written at tribuneRecommend

  • Tribune Reader

    Asif and Butt should be exiled from Pakistan and sent back to the prison in England from which they came, also revoke their citizenship.Recommend

  • JB

    I’m sorry but I would find it hard to trust someone like Salman Butt (who is educated and knew exactly what he was doing) and Asif (not the first time being found guilty) when or if they are playing for Pakistan. If they do end up playing for Pakistan, it not only hurts the already frail credibility of PCB but also hurts Pakistan’s reputation.Recommend

  • Radicalist

    Absolutely preposterous!!! After their banishment from international cricket, everyone said that Pakistan won’t be the same team any more. But they rose and now they are the 4th ranked side in Test cricket. We don’t want players who treat the cricket fans as fools and disregard the time and money spent by them. Sport is our passion and anyone who denigrates it, deserves to be punished severely.Recommend

  • danish ali

    plz back m.aamir to ply pakitan team plz pcb ply to aamir playing to cricket teamRecommend

  • Critical


    ET has mods who censor the comments and even a comment going slightly overboard is zapped…But isnt there any moderation for the blogs???

    The author must have read the newspaper headline “An EPL team involved in match-fixing” and jumped to write a blog without analysing..

    First of all,the match in question was between Liverpool and an obscure Hungarian club called Debrecen,where the goalkeeper of Debrecen was bribed to let 3 goals…He’s currently innocent until proven guilty and knowing by UEFA standards,that player wont touch the ball once his guilt is proved…

    Just because the crime occurs on a global scale,doesnt mean you dont have to punish the ones your jurisdiction has rights to…

    P.S.Hope to see better blogs in futureRecommend

  • Saif Ali

    I never endorsed cheating and I did not mean to vindicate Salman, Asif and Aamir. However, I think the chastisement that they’ve been dealt is far too grave.

    Sports fanatics like most of the commenters here are letting their zeal for the game overpower their humanity. I gave the example of match-fixing in other parts of the world to show that this is a worldwide phenomenon that is inescapable.

    Who’s to say the current members of the Pakistani cricket team aren’t guilty of spot-fixing? They haven’t been found out yet, but can we be sure that it isn’t happening?

    As long as there is money in sports, there will be cheating. And it shouldn’t ruin someone’s career, that’s all.Recommend

  • Satu

    You are still very much mistaken sir. Their crime justifies their punishment. They sold their soul for money. They sold the honor of my country for money. Maybe you can forgive that in your so called “humanity”. I can’t as a proud patriotic pakistani. And FYI look up the term sport fanatics in dictionary. The comments are mostly from informed concerned Pakistani’s. Understand the DIFFERENCE @Saif Ali: Recommend

  • Final Solution

    Most Pakistanis have ‘aik mauka aur dedo’ (‘give another chance’) mentality like this author. That’s why they are always electing corrupt political and religious figures, choosing to overlook their crimes in return for hollow promises.Recommend

  • Saniya

    Justifying a crime just because the justice system was unable (or unwilling) to prosecute bigger criminals, is not a viable argument. The recent case of the disgraced Lance Armstrong who was delivered a far bigger and more severe punishment for the disrepute he brought to the sport should be a good baseline.

    Butt, Asif (and to some extent Aamir) are adults. They know fully well what they were getting into. They should not only stay banned, but all their records in ICC should be revoked off the records. As an Indian I wish the same was done for Kapil Dev and Azharuddin but unfortunately they got away lightly. The only reason these three got prosecuted was because the incident happened in the UK. Had it been the subcontinent, they would have gotten away with a warning as well. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Saif Ali:
    Jadeja and Azhar were banned for life. This was decided by BCCI without waiting for ICC. Since you were quoting global examples, figured I would quote one that is fairly comparable.Recommend

  • Saad Ali Dar

    Give me a break! you are trying to say if people are getting away with it than we should back these people, who are unfortunately Pakistanis, and forget about what they have did, maligned our image and name in the world?

    I think even if they get reinstated i see no point in them being returning to the Pakistan cricket team. No one is indispensable especially the corrupt ones.Recommend

  • http://Seoul Faraz

    @Saif Ali

    I cannot believe I am seeing such an article on Express Tribune. I won’t even comment on the article but only request to Express Tribune to please have a look before you accept an article.

    P.S we have clean players playing for us. We don’t want these cheats play for us ever again!Recommend

  • HH

    @Saif Ali – When you support cheaters, you do support cheating. No punishment is enough for the humiliation they brought to Pakistan. And I am really sorry to say mr. author, you cannot justify their criminal acts just because other people in the world are also doing similar crimes. Cheaters and corrupts SHOULD be eradicated. Period!!!!Recommend

  • Rashid

    What these three have done is against the teachings of our beloved religion.
    They betrayed the nation and the ummah.
    They are lucky to be alive. Recommend

  • Jamal

    @Saif Ali:

    This is such a poor article in terms of the arguments it presents. They cheated, they lied and they still profess their innocence. What did you expect the ICC and PCB to do? Give them a pat on the back and a warm hug???Recommend