Haider seeking asylum
Zulqarnain Haider is seeking asylum in Britain after confirming he received death threats for defying match-fixing plans.
Last Updated: 09/11/10 8:17pm
Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider says he is planning to seek political asylum in Britain after fleeing from Dubai claiming he had received death threats for refusing to become involved in match-fixing.
Haider also said that he was retiring from international cricket to take himself out of harm's way, but later made statements that seemed to contradict that stance.
Haider turned up in London on Monday after disappearing from the Pakistan squad in Dubai, after scoring the winning runs in the fourth one-day international against South Africa.
The 24-year-old told Pakistan TV station Geo that he plans to seek political asylum in Britain after confirming he had received death threats for defying match-fixing plans.
"I understand there is rule in Britain that if you are on right and if you are not a criminal, then they always protect you," Haider said.
Haider added that he had received death threats after he refused to accept the alleged plan to allow South Africa to win the game in Dubai.
"I received death threats to lose the fourth and fifth one-day internationals against South Africa, but I could not compromise the dignity of my country," Haider added.
"I would rather flee away than sell out the dignity and respect of my motherland.
"I can assure you that I am safe and sound. I'm not arrested but I cannot tell where I am hiding for the sake of protection of my life.
"Immigration officials in the UK were kind to me and proposed me to hire the services of a counsellor but I am yet to reach a decision."
Haider says he does not want to name those involved in the alleged match-fixing proposal, and also voiced his concern for his family's safety back in Pakistan.
"I was approached by one person who asked me to fix the fourth and fifth match and there would be problem for me if I did not do it," Haider said.
"I do not want to say who is involved and who is not involved in the match fixing. I cannot say what kind of threats I have received as my family is still in Pakistan."
Haider initially announced his retirement from international cricket due to the threats he claims he and his family have been receiving.
However, the same station that reported his earlier comments later quoted him as saying that he would be prepared to play for Pakistan and even return to his home country provided his safety could be guaranteed.
"The (UK) border agency has taken my fingerprints and issued me a temporary stay," Haider said.
"I had no intentions of applying for political asylum at this stage and, if the Pakistan government is ready to give me assurance of security for me and my family, I am ready to return to Pakistan.
"I have no issues playing for Pakistan again provided the Pakistan Cricket Board wants me to play."
Match-fixing allegations have dogged Pakistan cricket ever since August, when Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were accused of being involved in a spot-fixing betting scandal against England.