Pakistan speaks in two voices on tainted trio

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> While Pak's UK envoy insisted the three cricketers were innocent, its ambassador to the United Nations slammed the players as rash youngsters.

Updated: September 04, 2010 18:08 IST
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New Delhi:

Pakistan is clearly speaking in two voices on the players at the centre of the match fixing scandal. While its UK envoy Wajid Shamsul Hasan insisted the three cricketers - Mohammad Amir. Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt - were innocent and accused the ICC of conspiracy, its ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon slammed the players as rash youngsters wanting to make a quick buck.

"There should be an immediate due process of law and who ever is found guilty should be appropriately punished. We can't have national icons jeopardising the standing of the nation because of rash and brash youngsters who want to make money quickly," Abdullah Hussain Haroon said. (Watch: Pak envoy to UN slams cricketers)

The three Pakistan cricketers, who were summoned by the Scotland Yard for questioning on Friday, were released without charge. (Read: Pakistan's tainted trio released without charge)

However, they are still battling charges under the ICC's anti-corruption code and have been barred from playing any further matches pending the outcome of their case.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to the Britain had lashed out at the ICC and accused it of conspiracy. (Read: ICC 'had no business' to suspend trio: Pakistan)

"My apprehensions that there is a rat in the whole affair are being strengthened. It is emerging as a fishy situation where pieces have now started falling in place to convince me that there is more than meet the eyes," Hasan said in a press release.

He had also insinuated that the ICC's Indian President Sharad Pawar might have had a hand in getting the three players suspended. (Read: No conspiracy against Pakistan: ICC)

"When Lorgat came to me I told him that the players themselves had opted out and how ECB chairman Giles Clarke was happy with their decision.

"I heard him (Lorgat) talking to Pawar. I don't know what transpired between them but immediately after that he left my office and prepared a 5-page notice and handed it to the players. There seems to be a conspiracy to keep Pakistan out," Hasan had said.

Hasan's candidness, however, has not gone down very well with his own countrymen who have branded him a "loose cannon" for his outbursts against the ICC. (Read: Pak diplomats embarrassed by 'loose cannon' Hasan)

Diplomats at the Pakistani legation in Belgravia are less then amused by his stunning remarks with one of them saying that he felt "depressed" by Hasan's statements to the media.

"I suppose it is quite funny for outsiders, but the rest of us find it embarrassing. Anyway, it'll backfire, I have my own contacts among journalists and I am told they (the News of the World) will produce more things on Sunday," a diplomat was quoted as saying by 'The Independent'.

(Pics: Pakistan cricket in a 'fix')

The unnamed diplomat said Hasan's claims have not just caused embarrassment; they have created a sense of anger against Pakistan.

"We had a great chance here to show that we were taking this matter extremely seriously and would root out any corruption. Instead we took a position we couldn't sustain, ended giving contradictory statements, lost out anyway and made a lot of our friends in the cricketing world angry."

"We are trying to get him off the TV screens, but there's no stopping him."

Officials close to Hasan said the criticism has come from "his detractors connected to the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, and the military."

But a diplomat rejected this saying, "What on earth has all this to do with cricket? The only military thing here is that we have a loose cannon in our hands."

(With PTI inputs)

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