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Akhtar escapes defamation suit

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said he had withdrawn the defamation lawsuit against Shoaib Akhtar as the banned pacer had made a public apology.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Karachi
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2008 05:16 PM IST

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf said Monday he had withdrawn a defamation lawsuit against Shoaib Akhtar after the banned fast bowler made a public apology.

The 32-year-old paceman was banned for five years last month for breaching the players' code of conduct by criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) when it did not offer him a central contract in January.

Ashraf and the PCB sued him for three million dollars after Akhtar alleged in an interview the day after the ban that the board chief had demanded payments from the bowler's contract to play in an Indian domestic tournament.

"I have withdrawn the defamation case as my honour was vindicated after Akhtar apologised publicly and retracted his baseless allegations," Ashraf said.

"I forgive him as it was a matter of principle," he added, with the PCB also withdrawing its suit.

Local media said that Pakistan's prime ministerial advisor on interior affairs, Rehman Malik, brokered the deal at a dinner in his house in Islamabad on Sunday night where Ashraf forgave Akhtar.

The civil court in Lahore had summoned Akhtar for a hearing on May 16.

Akhtar made his surprise apology last week in an apparent attempt to further his appeal against the ban.

A three-member appeals tribunal last week said that Akhtar was free to play abroad, allowing him to take part in the Indian tournament.

But it said that it would make a final decision next month on the ban stopping him playing in Pakistan or for the national team.

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