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'Shoaib Akhtar to get fair hearing'

"The appellate tribunal will work independently and without any pressure...," says retired judge Aftab Farukh who will hear the appeal.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Karachi
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2008 01:24 PM IST

The retired judge appointed to head the three-member appellate tribunal, which will hear Shoaib Akhtar's appeal against his five-year ban, on Tuesday said the pacer would be given a fair hearing.

Aftab Farukh, a former judge of the Lahore High Court, said he was aware of the importance of the case but asserted that the tribunal would not be influenced by anybody and would only go by the evidence presented before it.

"The appellate tribunal will work independently and without any pressure. We will give fair hearings to both parties. We will also look at the evidence with both parties before we reach a final decision," Farukh said.

Former Test player and chief selector Haseeb Ahsan and well known business magnate and a former Federal minister Salman Taseer are the other members on the tribunal.

Shoaib was banned for five years last week by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on several counts of indiscipline including violation of his two-year probation period.

He lodged an appeal through his lawyer, who claimed the ban was illegal and unconstitutional. Farukh said he would not comment on whether the ban was too severe a punishment for the fast bowler or his disciplinary background.

"I am a retired Judge and I have dealt with many more important criminal cases involving murder. So it is not a big thing for me to handle this issue. But one thing I want to make clear the tribunal will take a majority decision," he said.

"Majority will prevail. If the majority want the ban removed or reduced we will go by it. The tribunal will reach a decision with consensus," he added.

The Judge said the tribunal had been given minimum seven days and maximum one month to reach a decision.
"First I want to study the case and all the documents related to it. I think it will take inside a week to have the first hearing," he said.

Farukh made it clear that he would not be commenting anymore on the case until it is completed as he didn't want the media to influence opinions.

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