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Haider seeking asylum in UK

cricket Updated: Nov 10, 2010 01:05 IST

Reuters
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Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider is seeking asylum in the United Kingdom for himself and his family, he said on Tuesday.

Zulqarnain said in an interview shown on Geo News Channel that he was forced to apply for asylum because of the circumstances that made him flee the team hotel in Dubai after being approached to get involved in match-fixing.

"I had no intention of applying for asylum. I have put my cricket career at stake. I could have earned much more coming here as a Pakistani player without any issues," Zulqarnain said.

The wicketkeeper, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday, said he had to come to London after getting threats for not co-operating with match-fixers.

Zulqarnain, 24, said he felt unable to continue in the Pakistan team after being approached by a person staying in the same hotel who asked him to fix the fourth and fifth one-day internationals against South Africa.

"He was in the same hotel," Zulqarnain said.

"I didn't go to the management with my problem because I feared for my safety and for their safety. I took the decision to come to London after coming under lot of pressure after the fourth one-day match."

Level series
Zulqarnain, who arrived in London on Monday, scored 19 not out to lead Pakistan to victory in the last over of the fourth one-dayer against South Africa, levelling the series at 2-2.

He also made it clear that people saying he had manufactured the whole episode to seek asylum in the UK were wrong.

"I could have come here as a Pakistani cricketer often and earned far more. I have been to the UK many times before but I never thought about remaining here," he said.

"I had a promising career to look forward to as a Pakistan player. Now my entire career is at stake," he said.

"I want my family to be with me here as I also fear for their safety."

Zulqarnain said he had been granted a temporary stay in the UK until his case was processed and that he had been interviewed by British border office, the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit and Scotland Yard.

The Pakistan ambassador to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said the player had not approached him for any assistance.

"I don't know what is his case but I know that you only get political asylum in the UK if you are being prosecuted by your government. If he comes to us we will guide and assist him in every way possible," Hasan said.