Zulqarnain Haider, Pakistan Cricket Board, pcb, Ijaz Butt, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir
Zulqarnain Haider (C) is escorted by guards upon arrival at the Benazir International Airport in Islamabad. -Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Runaway former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider returned home from Britain on Monday after receiving government assurances about the safety of his family.

Haider, who turned 25 on Saturday, fled the Pakistan team's hotel in Dubai on November 8 for the United Kingdom after saying he had received demands that he fix a one-day match against South Africa under the threat of death.

He arrived by plane in Islamabad on Monday and was escorted by security officials to Interior Minister Rehman Malik's office where he met the minister, who had guaranteed his safety.

“I am happy to return. There were solid reasons behind my going to London and I am sure everyone realised that no one can put his career at stake for nothing,” Haider told reporters after the meeting.

With his younger daughter on his lap, Haider added: “I am happy the way I was given full security. I want to spend some time with my family and then meet PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) chairman (Ijaz Butt) which I will share with you.”

Haider will be given full security as promised,” Malik said.

“He is a citizen of Pakistan so there is no restriction on his movement. He has told us some facts which at this point of time we cannot share with the media.”

Wearing a casual shirt and jeans, Haider was earlier whisked away by security officials to avoid a scrum at the airport, where he also met his wife, daughters and brother, witnesses said.

The wicketkeeper was part of the Pakistan team in the series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates when he went missing on the day of the fifth and final one-day match on November 8.

He fled to London and announced his retirement from international cricket.

A week later he applied for asylum there.

Last week Haider met Malik and, after receiving promises of safety for himself and his family, agreed to return home. He said he had also decided to withdraw his asylum request.

After his disappearance the PCB terminated his contract and formed a committee to establish the facts surrounding the dramatic departure.

But the three-member committee said there were no clear motives behind his disappearance and also declared him “mentally ill”.

After meeting Malik last week, Haider also said he would return to cricket.

“Since I have been given full assurances of safety, I have no reason to continue with my asylum application and after returning home I want to resume my cricket career,” he said.

The PCB said Monday that Haider had not yet been in touch with them.

“If he makes a contact, then only we will have to decide whether he will have to appear before the committee. He didn't submit details sought by the fact-fixing committee last year,” PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told AFP.

Haider played one Test, against England at Birmingham last year, as well as four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals in a short career.

On his Facebook page Haider had also promised to name Pakistani players involved in match-fixing, but he never supplied the names.

British media reported that Haider was questioned by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), the International Cricket Council (ICC) wing that deals with match-fixing claims, in London last year but that the unit did not find anything substantive to back up his allegations.

Pakistani cricket was rocked by a corruption scandal last year when key players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were accused of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test against England in August.

The three players were handed lengthy bans by the ICC in February this year.

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Comments (15)

April 25, 2011 5:57 pm
this man should not be given any chance to come even near a thought of cricket. He as put the country's name in vain and put a stigma on its forehead. He should be brought forward to the courts for possible offence of Treason unless he has a solid proof of what he is talking. Pakistan Zindabad.
Mir Zaman
April 25, 2011 6:03 pm
He's brought bad name to Pakistan cricket. If he has any concrete evidence against any other Pak player, he should disclose it to the media. In the present circumstances, his actions give the impression of a confused mind (and if he unable to come up with any valid explanation of his weird actions, the conclusion drawn by PCB fact finding committee would seem more apprpriate).
April 25, 2011 7:17 pm
Are we still requiring proof when 3 of the team players were convicted?
April 26, 2011 1:17 am
Those who fix matches wearing green shirt should be tried for treason not Zulqarnain. His handling of things may be silly and unwise but there is no doubt that he is honest and hardworking. His nerves may be weak but we cannot blame a person for taking threats seriously as security risk in Pakistan is real. May Allah help us and him...
April 26, 2011 5:27 am
Well done Mr. Rehman, every one knows that cricket is downright corrupt in the Subcontinent, honest players like him should be given protection. Kudos to our interior minister.
April 26, 2011 8:59 am
God knows actual truth behind his dramatic disappearance. Since nothing has come up against him, i believe we should wait and let him settle down first. From his body language, seems like he is going to unfold some of the truth in near future.
Mohammed Yahya
April 26, 2011 11:50 am
well said, I agree.
April 26, 2011 12:24 pm
Pakistan Zindabad !
jonathan ( USA )
April 26, 2011 1:02 pm
PCB and influential authority should first dig to get exact fate of person who is threatening Zulgernain Haider to stop him to comeback in team to play. He is good keeper and everyone should know that akmal brothers never want him to comeback to secure their own position in the team.Now it is clear to know who is behind the threat call. If Akmal brothers relatives are holding any position in government and influence with any big fish then should find out the truth.
April 26, 2011 1:04 pm
yes your name is syed i can see your affection towards him, when he realised his case was week for asylumn and there was no records of those threats simply he came back
jonathan ( USA )
April 26, 2011 1:12 pm
PCB and influencial authority should first dig to get exact fate of person who is threatening Zulgernain Haider to stop him to comeback in team to play. He is good keeper and everyone should know that akmal brothers never want him to comeback to secure their own position in the team.Now it is clear to know who is behind the threat call. If Akmal brothers relatives are holding any position in government and influene with any big fish then should find out the truth.
nawab hussain
April 26, 2011 4:42 pm
Very sad(extremely narrow minded) ,It is not the matter of shia & sunni.It is proved that some pakistani cricketers are involved in match fixing,I am totally agreed with Mr.syed at least authorities should listen patiently then decide weather Zulqurnain guilty or innocent.
April 26, 2011 5:54 pm
Please refrain from typing the comments related to any religious sects. It is not us to point at anyone for what they believe. It's between them and Allah. Keep the comments tied to strings of Cricket. Well...if he's honest and brave enough, then, he must uplift the veil on schemers. Lastly, you guys are living in 2011 and decent enough to come to Dawn.com and read an article following with your valuable comment...grow up and stop this sunni/shia thing. Always remember, it's between them and Allah. Thank you
April 27, 2011 1:39 pm
Arslan Bhai, cricket isn't corrupt in the "entire" subcontinent...don't judge others.
April 28, 2011 4:00 am
Read the front page, two of those who threatened him have already been arrested. And for God's sake, don't make everything a religious war.
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