Criminal cricketers and their accomplices — by Abbas Zaidi

The three cricketers are proven guilty and are thus criminals. They are shameless too. They never accepted their crime. Amir did confess, but only when it was too late and that too on the advice of his lawyer

Now that corruption charges have been proved against Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Amir, some Pakistanis are doing what they always do: lie, deny, invoke God, and claim conspiracy theories. Salman Butt’s family members have claimed that Butt is an innocent man and has fallen prey to an international conspiracy, the English judge is dishonest and a conspirator [Indian agent?], and thus: “We do not accept the decision. Had a Pakistani court given this verdict, we would have accepted it.” A lot of patriotism was thrown in too. His sisters said: “He is a patriot and cannot even think about committing treason against Pakistan.” One of the sisters made another ridiculous claim: “My brother did not change a single word from his original statement [claiming his innocence].” The Butt family has thrown in Islam too: they claim that Salman Butt prays five times a day, and it is Allah who will give him justice. They also denounced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for doing nothing for Salman Butt. They were quick to say: the truth will come out soon. Salman Butt’s father said: “I will soon hold a press conference in which I will reveal with evidence that my son has been a victim of conspiracy.”

Mohammad Amir’s mother said that her son did not throw a no-ball for money; he was pressured by Salman Butt to do so. In another interview, she absolved her son by claiming that someone had cast “an evil eye” on her son, which led to his conviction.

Forthright and frank to begin with, Mohammad Asif’s father said that if he had committed a crime, he should be punished: “People get punished for committing a crime. We have enough money of our own including 10 buffalos and 20 cows. Asif will not die of hunger. There is enough for him to eat.” But within hours he changed his statement claiming that his son was innocent and the government should get him freedom.

The families of Butt and Amir did not ask the pair how come they bought expensive houses and fancy cars. You do not make so much money in so short a time, especially when the gates of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are shut on you and you do not appear in commercial advertisements. Butt’s and Amir’s families have done what some typical Pakistanis do: deny any wrong done, blame others, claim international conspiracies, and invoke God and patriotism. They did not say that their sons confessed to their guilt. Salman Butt praying five times a day! Malik Ishaq, who has proudly killed 70 innocent persons and claims to continue to do so, also prays five times a day. The Taliban who slaughter Muslims also pray five times a day.

The three cricketers are proven guilty and are thus criminals. They are shameless too. They never accepted their crime. Amir did confess, but only when it was too late and that too on the advice of his lawyer. But equally guilty and shameless are those TV anchors who have been lionising these cricketers. After spot-fixing allegations surfaced against them a year ago, these anchors held special programmes claiming that the Indian lobby and the inveterate British bias against Pakistan were behind them. They offered no evidence to support their ridiculous conspiracy theories. They put angry Pakistanis on their shows denouncing the entire world for conspiring against Islam and Pakistan. These anchors invited these three criminals to their shows and gave them complete freedom to tell lies about their ‘innocence’.

Now that the cricketers have been sentenced and their guilt established beyond suspicion, the anchors have not given up and have refused to call a spade a spade. They have not told their viewers that pounds and dollars were found in Butt’s and Amir’s possession. Now what they are questioning is why only Pakistanis have been singled out for corruption. Why have Indian bookies and players not been sentenced? How many of the jury members were Jews, crypto-Jews, Hindus, or Hindu-Jewish supporters? It is these very anchors who promote crime and glorify criminals by clouding real issues by raising alarm in the name of patriotism and religion. Patriotism, we know, is the last refuge of a scoundrel; now we know that religion is also the last refuge not only of scoundrels but also those siding with them.

The writer is the author of Two and a Half Words and Other Stories. He can be reached at

Source: Daily Times



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