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User Name: Raja_Muhammad_Khan
Full Name: Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
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Let us End the Media Trial over Match Fixing


Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

In the world of sports, match fixing has a history, originating from the ancient city-states. During the primitive Olympics, athletes used to accept bribes for losing the matches in spite of the fact that they used to be under the oath to protect the integrity of that specific sports event, the respect of team itself, and their countries. The players and other people associated with the act punished at times for their doings. In the same way, match fixing has hardly been a secret in the in the world of cricket too. Over the last, few decades almost all famous cricket teams of the world found involved in it either, directly or indirectly and at individual or collective level.

The world-renowned players who fell-prey to this dissipated act include; the former South African Captain Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azharudin, the former Indian cricket star and captain and a number of other Asian, European and African players besides, Indian and Pakistani players. The current episode of the match fixing, where three Pakistani cricketers are suspected to be involved, is indeed, a continuation of what has been happening in the world of cricket since last so many years. Nevertheless, amazingly, this event has been given unprecedented media coverage and so much importance, as if something new has happened on the planet earth.

Without a thorough investigation and a fair trial, a number of the team players were declared guilty of having received huge amounts for losing the match to England, even when the match was underway. No doubt, the act if it has taken place is worth condemning even if a single player found involved in it. The player(s) or the team as a whole must be punished for that as per the rule of the country or under the set rules of international cricket. Even after the passage of over ten days, the controversy is not coming to its end. From the pattern of British media exploitation and incessant debates, one could find that it is a deliberate effort to defame Pakistani cricket team and the country at a time once its people are suffering from the flood; the worst natural disasters of the history.    

The reality of the matter is that the central charter of the event, Mr. Mazhar Majeed, has contacts with some Pakistani players since long. A UK media man, who showed his pictures while getting 150,000-pounds sterling from an agent in a local hotel, in turn trapped Mazhar Majeed. Mazhar Majeed is a UK national. The only linkage of Mazhar Majeed with the Pakistani team was perhaps established because of his ancestral linkage with Pakistan. Born in the Croydon, Mazhar Majeed and his brother Azhar Majeed, are sons of Abdul Majeed, a highly respected British national of Pakistan origin. Mr. Abdul Majeed, originally a resident of Moonishi Mohallah Faisalabad, settled in Britain in 1960s. Mazhar Majeed completed his basic education from Coulsdon High School and later joined Middlesex University in North London as a business student. 

In 1999, Mazhar Majeed along with one of his friend, Faisal Hameed, formed a property development company with the name of ‘Blue Sky Development.’ Currently, Mazhar claims the directorship of twenty-eight companies. He also owns the Croydon Athletic Football Club. Upon investigation and arrest, Mazhar  Majeed told police that he has links with some Pakistan cricketers. This was not the first contact between this broker and the Pakistani team. Rather, he remained in contact with the team during its visit to Australia. He also admitted that these cricketers he manipulated the match in the favour of England.  As per recent investigation by Scotland Yard, three to four players have been found involved in getting the money from Mazhar Majeed. The players who accepted the money, declared that this was the sponsorship money rather a bribes for the match fixing. The legal formalities are still underway; however, this was not a unique incident that could have become the focus of international media.

Unfortunately, the western media and especially, “The News of the World,” did not point out the relationship between the bookie Mazhar Majeed and his roots in India. Indeed, Mazhar Majeed is maintaining his strong links in India. He himself admitted with ‘The News of the World’ that, “I deal with an Indian party. They pay me for information.” Otherwise, over ninety percent match fixers are in either India or Indian living elsewhere in the world, including a vast number in England and Dubai UAE. Through betting, billions of dollars are being earned by the bookies and their agents like Mazhar Majeed. In 2000, Indian police and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have investigated the match fixing scandal, which ended the career of two “celebrated captains, South Africa's Hansie Cronje and India's Mohammad Azharuddin.”

On the insistence of the Indian bookies, Mazhar Majeed has been persuading Pakistani players since long. Indian bookies otherwise work in concurrence with the RAW, which effectively monitor the activities of these bookies. Besides, Mazhar Majeed and some of his family members are consider to be maintaining strong links with the Indian spying network. The recent wave of the deliberate defaming campaign against Pakistan appears to be part of the same. In this regards, the British media together with the Indian media have orchestrated a well thought out campaign for involving Pakistani cricket team in this match fixing scandal. Because of his Pakistani origin, Mazhar Majeed has been used to ensnare Pakistani cricket players.

Otherwise, the practice of defaming Pakistan has been going on since last few months. Apart from the media of these two friendly countries, the officials too are involved in this defaming campaign. So much so, the incumbent British Premier Mr. David Cameron has accused Pakistan for the perpetrating the terrorism. During his visit to India, Mr Cameron had a big mouth to say that, Pakistan is “exporting terror.” His statement has created a huge controversy and seriously dented the bi-lateral relationship between Pakistan and Britain. Whereas, everyone know that all Sub-nationalists and anti-Pakistan elements from various parts of the Pakistan have been given refuge in Britain and they are treated as political victims and asylum seekers, as if there is some wave of political victimization is going on in Pakistan.

 This is worth mentioning that currently, there is not a single political prisoner in Pakistani jails. The people who are given refuge or political asylum in England, through the help of various intelligence networks operate in Pakistan and support the secessionists’ movements. The host and the intelligence network, operative in Pakistan, also arrange funding to these anti-state elements.  Azad Baloch and such like others are part of this incentive package. Indeed, if we trace the history, right from the inception of Pakistan in 1947, the role of British media and at time its top hierarchy has never been encouraging for Pakistan. The UK governments together with the India, has hardly missed a chance to target Pakistan and Pakistani interests.

There is a need to end the controversy over the match fixing and the deliberate defaming campaign against Pakistan. The practice has indeed, debarred the world from assisting Pakistan at the crucial moments once over 23 million people have been worst affected by the flood. Owing to the unprecedented damages to crops, properties, houses, civic facilities and communication infrastructures in over 79 districts of Pakistan, the losses have been estimated as over 100 billion rupees. The world should have been forthcoming to assist Pakistan, but the British and Indian media trial over match fixing has diverted the attention from the real issue.

For the good cause of humanity, let us end the media trial to this match fixing controversy both globally as well as domestically and pay attention to the real cause. Had the same media campaigned for the global donations and assistance for the flood affected people in Pakistan, it would have earned lot of respect and good will. Indeed, addressing the human miseries is too big a cause and cricket is too small an event, to be given preference over the former.

The writer is an analyst of international relations.
 Reply:   We believe they acted in undue haste over this Spot Fixing Is: ICC Official
Replied by(Noman) Replied on (8/Sep/2010)

Spot-fixing controversy

PCB fought for suspended cricketers

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo


The Pakistan Cricket Board had tried to fight the case for the three cricketers accused of spot-fixing, sending a letter to the ICC after the governing body suspended the players four days after the News of the World sting operation.

In his first statement following the suspension of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said: "We wrote a letter to ICC on behalf of the players but they want individual replies from the players which will be given to them in the allowed 14 days."

Butt arrived in Lahore airport on Wednesday after the controversy and was met with a hostile reception and he had to be eventually led away by security. "Investigations are under way and police has yet to charge any player," Butt said. "We are very concerned over the allegations and since we too have zero tolerance against corruption, we also want this to finish soon.

"We are really worried about the matter and if any player is found responsible then we will take strict action," he added

The PCB chief had initially learnt about the spot-fixing incident when he was called by the team manager Yawar Saeed on the fourth day of the Lord's Test, when the News of The World sting was released. Butt said he was told by Saeed that, "police have warrants to search the players' rooms. On Friday the players were interrogated for nine hours but no charges are levelled against them."

The ICC acted last Thursday, five days after the initial story in which the NOTW alleged that Salman Butt, Amir and Asif were part of a plan arranged by the target of the sting, Mazhar Majeed, to bowl deliberate no-balls.

In the days that have followed, there was a growing unease within the PCB with the ICC's "haste" at handling the controversy, particularly the speed with which the governing body suspended the three players.

In the meetings which followed the release of the NOTW video tape, immense pressure was put on the PCB by the ICC and ECB to suspend the players temporarily so that the limited-overs leg of the tour could continue relatively untainted. Butt refused to do so, telling ESPNcricinfo he would not suspend any player without evidence.

Pakistan's top diplomat in the UK was also involved in the discussions at the end of which it was agreed to withdraw the players, stating that the players had "voluntarily" agreed to pull themselves out of the tour under the mental strain of the allegations.

Later that evening, however, after a number of meetings between Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, Butt and Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the Pakistan High Commissioner in the UK, the ICC decided to act and suspend the trio anyway. Lorgat later admitted the ICC sped up its role after hearing Ijaz Butt say the players would not be suspended. The move incensed Hasan who claimed Lorgat had given an assurance that no such action would be taken. Lorgat denied this, saying he had informed Ijaz Butt and Hasan.

One official, however, said that the ICC was wrong to take such action. "We believe they acted in undue haste over this and certainly we believe that they did it to show that they were doing something, to be seen to be taking action rather than taking the right action," the official, who is familiar with the proceedings of the case, told ESPNcricinfo.

Part of the discontent stems from the ICC not having shared any evidence with the PCB when the suspensions were first handed out. But the PCB is also concerned about the suspensions because police investigations are still underway. "No charges have been put forward by the police at all yet and their investigation is still happening so why couldn't they just wait?" the official said.

"The players have to respond now to those ACSU charges while the police work is still going and it's just putting too much strain on the players who have not yet been found guilty of anything. This could be a double jeopardy situation, where they are being punished for the same offence twice."

The entire crisis is likely to exacerbate what seems, in any case, to have been an uneasy relationship under Butt's tenure. Before this, the ICC and PCB clashed most notably when Pakistan's right to host matches at the 2011 World Cup was taken away following the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. The Pakistan board threatened legal action against the ICC but the two sides eventually came to a compromise.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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