Karachi: Banned Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamir are leaving for London for their first appearance before a magistrate's court there on Thursday to face corruption charges in connection with the spot-fixing scandal last year.
Butt will leave for London later this afternoon while Aamir will do so on Wednesday after getting his visa. Fast bowler Mohammad Asif, the third player, who was banned by the ICC in the spot-fixing scandal, is already in London preparing for the case with his English lawyer.
"I am leaving today and I am confident in the near future all these allegations against me would be cleared up," Butt said.
A source close to Aamir said that he was expected to get his visa on Tuesday and would fly out to London with his lawyer Shahid Karim on Wednesday.
"Aamir is keen to appear before the magistrate and get things rolling in the case but the visa delay has hit his plans but he should leave tomorrow if everything goes on schedule," the source said.
The Pakistani trio was banned for spot-fixing during the national team's Test match against England at Lord's last August and they are presently serving bans handed by an independent tribunal of the International Cricket Council.
They had also been separately charged with conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and defraud bookmakers by the Crown Prosecution Service in London on the basis of investigation by Scotland Yard.
Sources said that the three players would have to make an appearance before the magistrate's court on Thursday and complete paperwork formalities.
"There is no regular hearing scheduled on that day but it is essential the players make their appearance before the magistrate or they could be declared absconders," the source said.
The trio has already filed appeals with the International Court of Arbitration for sports in Geneva against the bans imposed by the ICC.
"Hopefully, we will soon get a date for the appeals hearing and we want this thing to move forward," Butt said. Butt will be represented by an English lawyer at the magistrate's court.
In an interesting development, Pakistan Cricket Board's legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi will be present at the hearing as an observer.