fawad ahmed, pakistani asylum seeker, Chris Bowen, Ed Cowan, T20 Big Bash League
Fawad Ahmed. -Photo courtesy ABC News video

SYDNEY: A Pakistani asylum-seeker and leg-spin bowler who helped Australia as they prepared for the first Test against South Africa was Thursday rewarded with a permanent visa to stay in the country.

Fawad Ahmed, who left his home in the border region near Afghanistan to come to Australia on a short-stay visa to play cricket in 2010, was granted his wish to stay after the personal intervention of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

“Chris Bowen has personally considered Mr Ahmed's case and decided to grant a permanent visa for him to be able to stay, work and play cricket in Australia,” an immigration spokesman said.

Ahmed, 30, has previously said he was targeted by extremists in Pakistan because of his involvement in cricket, even receiving death threats because of the perception that the sport promotes Western values.

At the urging of opener Ed Cowan, Australia decided to use him in the nets for batting practice during the South Africa series because of the similarities in his bowling to the Proteas' leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Ahmed is familiar with naturalised South African Tahir, having played against him when they were both in Pakistan's domestic cricket.

“We have all been touched by his story and immensely proud of how far he has come,” said Cowan, who has been a mentor and friend of the player.

Ahmed, who dreams of one day playing at state level or in the T20 Big Bash League, said he was overjoyed.

“I'm grateful to the government and everyone who helped me with my application. It is overwhelming, I'm really happy,” he said.

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said the minister's decision was a fantastic result for cricket.

“The Australian cricket community has really come together in support of Fawad, and we are just so thrilled with the news,” he said.

“This is proof that through cricket, we can help achieve life-changing outcomes for people.”

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Comments are closed.

Comments (61)

Ali G
November 17, 2012 7:46 am
he looks lik an australian...deserves a nationality too...
Haq
November 15, 2012 2:33 pm
That is so true.
Mohammad Azeez Khan
November 15, 2012 8:19 pm
Hahahah ! what a cheap tactics to full the Australian immigration officials . Cricket promote western value! since when ! Why only him targeted by extremist mullahs why not Imran Khan the Devta of Cricket and others. Australian Immgtin office knows the truth . He was given PR because he is valuable to Australia in the field of sport.
Sandeep Singh
November 15, 2012 2:34 pm
yeah, particularly for shameful pakistani ;-)
muhammad
November 16, 2012 3:27 am
he is not as good as ajmal no politics there is no place for him
fiaz
November 15, 2012 1:50 pm
Don't blame him, Blame the population, Best of luck to him.
Rizwan
November 15, 2012 1:49 pm
at 30 yrs old, there's not much cricket left in him. He has yet to break into even state level cricket there in Australia, he'll probably remain a tool to be used in net practices & nothing much. But sincerely best of luck to him for a safe & prosperous life in Australia.
Asim
November 17, 2012 5:06 am
There are a lot of these cases where people conduct Asylum fraud, since its easy to 'fake' their way into western countries who think everyone is being persecuted in Pakistan. I'm sure the AUSSIES wanted him and Asylum was just the quickest way to do it, otherwise their system seems flimsy.
Waft
November 16, 2012 5:19 pm
I don't see how it's good for Pakistan.
Cyrus Howell
November 15, 2012 4:51 pm
Gee, Australia is really nice to asylum seekers.
Laloo
November 15, 2012 9:40 am
I wish Australia would take me tooo!!!!!
Baighairat Kafir
November 15, 2012 1:39 pm
LOL! so ture
View from Abroad
November 15, 2012 8:58 am
Pakistan Say Zinda Baag!
Shabir
November 17, 2012 8:15 am
Shame us and on our Politicians who are in Pakistan who could not prevent our talented youngsters talking asylum and playing for another country.
Pakistan
November 15, 2012 12:35 pm
Pakistan brain drain.
Muslim
November 15, 2012 9:18 pm
brother well said ......may Allah help us .....these are the people who forget what is the meaning of life they think this world is every thing...if the best man Muhammad (pbuh) refuse muntains of gold and slept on Bed made of palm leaves then we should not have anything to complain about
Muslim
November 15, 2012 9:13 pm
I wonder what will happen to him to the day of judgement .....????
Punjabi Jat
November 15, 2012 7:06 pm
What a touching story. Salute to Australians and their long term vision. No questions Aussies are super power of cricket.
Sy3d
November 15, 2012 9:33 pm
they lost imran tahir the same way ... but who cares? I am happy for fawad. there is no respect for talent in Pakistan anyway.
Naseer Qureshi
November 15, 2012 4:40 pm
but where, all embassies are closed.
Indusonian
November 15, 2012 2:09 pm
A country where key government ministers are dual nationals, he did nothing wrong.
Mubarak
November 17, 2012 7:02 am
If every one in Pakistan takes asylum in foreign countries then who is going to stay in Pakistan?
Obaid
November 15, 2012 2:23 pm
Well-Australia is country with a good heart. They have lot of people from Pakistan who migrated there to avoid harassment at home, at the hands of corrupt and criminal politicians. One day all Pakistanis will be playing against there country...in about 30-40 years. I think all immigrated pakistanis should thank Allah(SWAT) for the mercy he has endowed on a nation that could settle in other countries as well. Good luck to aspiring cricketers. I have no doubt they can certainly grant visa to Saeed Ajmal ...
Observer
November 15, 2012 3:21 pm
Are Pakistani cricketers not safe in Pakistan?No Taliban has attacked Pakistani cricketers?Why does he need asylum?I don't get the Point
Sajid
November 15, 2012 10:20 am
Zulqarnain has opened new ways for hopeful immigrants and asylum seekers!
Sam
November 16, 2012 9:48 pm
Pakistan was created as a safe haven for the muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is ridiculous for a true muslim to seek asylum in another country. He must not be a true muslim and wants to defame Pakistan. After all, it is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where every muslim is free to practice his religion.
Papa
November 15, 2012 12:10 pm
It is shameful; to know that Pakistani cricketer had to look for the country to provide him asylum
hamid Shafiq
November 15, 2012 11:20 am
i totally dis agree of all previous comments if any one intrested to leave pakistan leave but all the time a second class citizenship with racist words beready. it menas people do not believe on Allah rather more rely on westren help.shame on all previous comments people
Junaid
November 15, 2012 3:59 pm
People who are criticising Fawad will be the first ones in line to get Australian Visa, if offered. People have dual personalities and are not willing to admit the facts on the ground. The fact is that you will save your life first instead of thinking about playing cricket. Even our Prophet migrated to Madina when his own life was in danger. Fawad is not doing anything wrong to save his life and future, would you not do the same?
pathanoo
November 16, 2012 8:25 pm
He most likely will be treated better than you for you have no mercy or love in your heart. Fawad feared for his life.
Khizr
November 15, 2012 4:18 pm
Good for Fawad and for Pakistan and Australia. Assylum is not the right vehicle for such immigrations. Australia should consider giving immigrant visa to talented professionals based on their skills without the need to prove a need for political assylum.
shahid
November 15, 2012 8:11 pm
if it was to be easy for all these comment writers then believe me everyone will apply for asylem. this is their moral standard.
Nizar
November 15, 2012 4:32 pm
To hamid Shafiq: From your comment, it is clear that you are a product of madrassa education. It is incoherent, but what I am able to decipher is that anyone who leaves Pakistan for a better opportunity does not believe in Allah. I believe the whole Universe was created by Allah and every person has the right to a quality of life that is free from coercion and threat of being killed because you follow a different interpretation of Islam or play sports. You need to broaden your mental horizon and travel outside your country and see how other people are living on this planet without being worried about being killed for your interest in sports.
Muhammad Farooq
November 15, 2012 4:32 pm
Who in his right mind would call it brain drain? Yes it is a moment for reflection for the government of Pakistan where the safety and security of human lives and property is at its lowest point.
ammariftikhar
November 15, 2012 2:28 pm
It is truly shameful but for Fawad Ahmed to leave his home country.
Sultan
November 15, 2012 1:30 pm
Oh my. Arent we upset. If you had a chance you would get out as well but cant and thus sour grapes. If all I see are your fellow fanatics killing us in the name of religion, bombing us, shooting girls and staying silent when it comes to parading women naked or using draconian blasphemy or hadood laws to kill innocent minorities and imprison women then you are welcome to your version of Allah. I would rather be a second class citizen and deal with racism rather then get killed by your fundo like buds. Just my take.
Javed
November 15, 2012 4:23 pm
Good for him. I wish him well.
Cherian (Melbourne)
November 16, 2012 11:20 am
Does Imran wish to relocate to Australia in the first place?
jabbar
November 15, 2012 10:28 am
if he stayed in pakistan he would never of got a chance to play cricket at such a level to much politics and corruption in our country shame on us
sdf
November 15, 2012 1:26 pm
Racist words are nothing compared to real death threats, I think. And what has belief in Allah got anything to do with it? Leaving Pakistan means losing faith in Pakistan, not faith in Allah.
zafarov
November 16, 2012 3:37 am
@ Hamid Shafiq Fawad Ahmed has every right to make decisions about his own future. Racism and prejudice sadly exist in all societies. Judging from this report, officials and others have made an exceptional effort to facilitate Fawad. Finally, in our country, where discrimination is institutionalised and given the way we treat our own minorities, who are not foreigners but the sons of this soil, we are in no position to point fingers at others.
Gamerwamer
November 16, 2012 2:24 am
Allah (God) made the western people too! No?
Nadeem Khan
November 16, 2012 2:14 am
Dear Hamid, I left Pakistan many years ago due to injustices, lack of freedom to practise my religon, and safety. I now live in a Western Christian country. I have safety, security, justice and most of all the ability to practise my religon as I want to. I can now pray 5x a day peacefully and live a full Muslim life. Unfortunately, my nation Pakistan denied me all of this. As far as 2nd class citizenship is concerned, I was more discrimnated in Pakistan by the various ethnic groups. I feel at peace here and let me tell you one more thing. Most western countries follow the Islamic principles without even knowing it that this is how Allah wants you to govern your people with just laws, help for the poor, free health care, good schooling for everyone. Good luck to you my friend but I a a much better Muslim now!!!
faisal
November 15, 2012 5:06 pm
I wished I had any valuable talent. LOL!
Balakrishnan
November 16, 2012 8:31 pm
I think all decent Pakistanis have no other option but to leave Pakistan for the country has been taken over by barbarians
Sali
November 15, 2012 4:32 pm
its a shortcut to get right of abode in foreign countries. as mentioned in story, get short stay visa and than applying asylum due to death threat. If every pakistan start getting death threat than where every body will go... we have to establish a country Islamic Republic Of Pakistani Asylum Seekers.
aa
November 15, 2012 11:29 pm
Good for him and may he find safety and security that so many people crave.
Ahmed Zeeshan
November 15, 2012 11:41 pm
Why shameful for us?? He wouldn't get chance because here we have more talented spinner than him like Ajmal , Raza, Abdul Rehman and Yasir Shah.Being a professional we know that if you have talent you can make your way into any department, any organization in Pakistan. Moreover, nowadays it's very common for players to leave their native place and get settled in another country for their brighter career. We have examples of South-Africans, Irish getting settled in England and playing in the British National Cricket Team.He did the same thing but in order to get the citizenship of the Aussies he used this assylum tactics otherwise w/o any doubt Lahore ,Islamabad there would be no risk to his life..
oko
November 16, 2012 12:27 am
chalo ek pakistani ki life to sudhari....!
Sikander
November 16, 2012 3:18 am
SHAME Fawad Ahmed. You are good player because of Pakistan, Pakistan gave you Identity, Pakistan gave you respect, but you for your own interest degrade Pakistan. Shame on you
akil akhtar
November 16, 2012 12:59 am
These people looking for better economic opportunity are exaggerating the situation back home and saying what the narrow minded westerners want to hear. It helps their case greatly.
akil akhtar
November 16, 2012 1:01 am
Have some self respect because an unknown cricketer wants to stay in Australia and willing to say anything to help his case does nto mean we should be ashamed of Pakistan. Are You really a Pakistani. 35000 inidans migrate to Australia every year from shining inidia I have never heard anyone in inida say the same thing.
Masroor
November 16, 2012 6:21 pm
Nice buddy......I am happy, because, atleast Fawad followed a LEGAL way of getting visa....................hahahahahah
mlik
November 16, 2012 4:09 am
good fake story to get asylum
P.R.Koduri
November 16, 2012 10:52 am
Heartwarming story.
Waft
November 16, 2012 5:12 pm
Thank you for one of the few non-bitter replies. :)
Waft
November 16, 2012 5:16 pm
Gilani would approve!
Mir Jehan Zeb ,M.D.
November 16, 2012 5:50 pm
Remember Malala !
Shabnum
November 17, 2012 8:24 am
Funniest way to fool all of Australia. :)
Raza
November 16, 2012 12:03 pm
Getting Death Threats is only an excuse for getting the immigration. Are all domestic cricketers in Pakistan getting death threats?
faisal
November 16, 2012 11:23 am
Why not worry about yours?
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