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Pakistan cricket stunned by Imran's humiliating arrest

world Updated: Nov 16, 2007 14:57 IST

Pakistan's former and present cricketers have expressed sadness and disappointment over the arrest of former captain Imran Khan, who led the national team to 1992 World Cup victory.

Imran, an iconic figure in Pakistan cricket, was arrested on Tuesday when he turned up at a students rally at Punjab University campus protesting against the emergency clamped on the nation.

Imran, who now heads the Tehreek-e-Insaaf political opposition party, was reported to have been mistreated during his arrest and faces charges under a anti-terrorism act.

His nearest rival to equalling his iconic status as a cricketer, Javed Miandad said he was disturbed by the photographs of Imran being arrested.

"It is a fact that when Imran entered politics he knew what he was doing but having played with him and seen him up close as captain I did feel sad at the way he was roughed up," Miandad said.

"Having played with Imran the cricketer it is not easy to see him arrested," the former captain and coach said.
Former national selector and Test player Iqbal Qasim said he hoped for the best for Imran.

"We respected him a lot as a player and captain and he had a certain aura about him. His position in Pakistan cricket is undisputed and historic. I was never comfortable when he decided to enter politics but that is a decision he took and is now bravely facing," Qasim said.

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who will appear in rebel Indian Cricket League, said he was very upset to see the way Imran was treated by the students wing and police.

"He is such a great cricketer and to see him being humiliated like this is hard to accept. I do not think cricketers should enter into politics. Imran was better off serving humanity and doing social work after retirement," Razzaq told PTI before leaving for India.

His teammate Shabbir Ahmed had similar views and said the world of Pakistan politics was not meant for people like Imran Khan.

"Our political structure is such that great cricketers like Imran should stay away from it. He is too big a personality in our cricket to face such insult," Shabbir opined.

Haroon Rasheed, who played most of his cricket under Imran's captaincy, said he was shocked to see the arrest of Imran.
"But he is a mature man and knows what is best for him. He must have thought well before joining politics. But it is not easy seeing someone like Imran being jailed because we know him as someone who is an icon in our cricket.

"I wish he is released soon and just concentrates on his social work," he said. A former player who played with Imran and did not want to be identified said the people who are now humiliating and insulting him should be ashamed of themselves.

"Imran is one of Pakistan's most well-known and respected personalities even abroad and he has done more to raise the country's image and portray Pakistanis in a positive light than any politician can do. I hope he is well and is released soon," the cricketer said.

Former wicketkeeper Saleem Yousuf one of Imran's favourite players said he was sure Imran would eventually survive and do well in politics. "He is a strong man and he can handle anything."