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.”

More From This Section

Comments (61) (Closed)


Ali G
Nov 17, 2012 07:46am
he looks lik an australian...deserves a nationality too...
Haq
Nov 15, 2012 02:33pm
That is so true.
Mohammad Azeez Khan
Nov 15, 2012 08:19pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 02:34pm
yeah, particularly for shameful pakistani ;-)
muhammad
Nov 16, 2012 03:27am
he is not as good as ajmal no politics there is no place for him
fiaz
Nov 15, 2012 01:50pm
Don't blame him, Blame the population, Best of luck to him.
Rizwan
Nov 15, 2012 01:49pm
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
Nov 17, 2012 05:06am
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
Nov 16, 2012 05:19pm
I don't see how it's good for Pakistan.
Cyrus Howell
Nov 15, 2012 04:51pm
Gee, Australia is really nice to asylum seekers.
Laloo
Nov 15, 2012 09:40am
I wish Australia would take me tooo!!!!!
Baighairat Kafir
Nov 15, 2012 01:39pm
LOL! so ture
View from Abroad
Nov 15, 2012 08:58am
Pakistan Say Zinda Baag!
Shabir
Nov 17, 2012 08:15am
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
Nov 15, 2012 12:35pm
Pakistan brain drain.
Muslim
Nov 15, 2012 09:18pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 09:13pm
I wonder what will happen to him to the day of judgement .....????
Punjabi Jat
Nov 15, 2012 07:06pm
What a touching story. Salute to Australians and their long term vision. No questions Aussies are super power of cricket.
Sy3d
Nov 15, 2012 09:33pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 04:40pm
but where, all embassies are closed.
Indusonian
Nov 15, 2012 02:09pm
A country where key government ministers are dual nationals, he did nothing wrong.
Mubarak
Nov 17, 2012 07:02am
If every one in Pakistan takes asylum in foreign countries then who is going to stay in Pakistan?
Obaid
Nov 15, 2012 02:23pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 03:21pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 10:20am
Zulqarnain has opened new ways for hopeful immigrants and asylum seekers!
Sam
Nov 16, 2012 09:48pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 12:10pm
It is shameful; to know that Pakistani cricketer had to look for the country to provide him asylum
hamid Shafiq
Nov 15, 2012 11:20am
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
Nov 15, 2012 03:59pm
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
Nov 16, 2012 08:25pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 04:18pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 08:11pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 04:32pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 04:32pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 02:28pm
It is truly shameful but for Fawad Ahmed to leave his home country.
Sultan
Nov 15, 2012 01:30pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 04:23pm
Good for him. I wish him well.
Cherian (Melbourne)
Nov 16, 2012 11:20am
Does Imran wish to relocate to Australia in the first place?
jabbar
Nov 15, 2012 10:28am
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
Nov 15, 2012 01:26pm
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
Nov 16, 2012 03:37am
@ 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
Nov 16, 2012 02:24am
Allah (God) made the western people too! No?
Nadeem Khan
Nov 16, 2012 02:14am
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
Nov 15, 2012 05:06pm
I wished I had any valuable talent. LOL!
Balakrishnan
Nov 16, 2012 08:31pm
I think all decent Pakistanis have no other option but to leave Pakistan for the country has been taken over by barbarians
Sali
Nov 15, 2012 04:32pm
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
Nov 15, 2012 11:29pm
Good for him and may he find safety and security that so many people crave.
Ahmed Zeeshan
Nov 15, 2012 11:41pm
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
Nov 16, 2012 12:27am
chalo ek pakistani ki life to sudhari....!
Sikander
Nov 16, 2012 03:18am
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
Nov 16, 2012 12:59am
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
Nov 16, 2012 01:01am
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
Nov 16, 2012 06:21pm
Nice buddy......I am happy, because, atleast Fawad followed a LEGAL way of getting visa....................hahahahahah
mlik
Nov 16, 2012 04:09am
good fake story to get asylum
P.R.Koduri
Nov 16, 2012 10:52am
Heartwarming story.
Waft
Nov 16, 2012 05:12pm
Thank you for one of the few non-bitter replies. :)
Waft
Nov 16, 2012 05:16pm
Gilani would approve!
Mir Jehan Zeb ,M.D.
Nov 16, 2012 05:50pm
Remember Malala !
Shabnum
Nov 17, 2012 08:24am
Funniest way to fool all of Australia. :)
Raza
Nov 16, 2012 12:03pm
Getting Death Threats is only an excuse for getting the immigration. Are all domestic cricketers in Pakistan getting death threats?
faisal
Nov 16, 2012 11:23am
Why not worry about yours?