Back in Pakistan after being in hiding for five months in UK, Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider on Monday justified his decision to abandon his team midway through a series last November citing death threats from match-fixers.
"I had a potentially growing career with the Pakistan team when I took the decision. No sensible person would sacrifice his career like this without any reason," Haider told reporters after a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sports Minister Shaukatullah following his return to Islamabad on Monday.
"I had my reasons for doing what I did. I have conveyed my issues to the government now," he stated. Haider insisted that he decided to return from London and withdraw his application for asylum because of assurances given by Rehman Malik.
"I came back after the minister assured me about the security and safety of myself and my family," he stated. Haider had fled the team hotel last November during a one-day series against South Africa and on reaching London claimed that he had got death threats for refusing to take part in match fixing.
He claimed having got two more death threats while he was preparing to return to Pakistan last week. Before leaving for Islamabad on Sunday night, Haider told the "Duniya" news channel that the person who threatened him was an Indian national.
The 24-year old keeper said he was keen to resume his cricket career and hoped that the Pakistan Cricket Board would allow him to do this.
"I will be meeting with the Chairman of the board soon to resolve this issue and convey my point of view," he said. Haider said he was reassured about his security after meeting with the minister.
The keeper was not allowed to speak to the media as he returned home this morning and was whisked away by security personnel in a waiting car.
Malik told reporters that he had advised Haider to get in touch with the Pakistan Cricket Board and sort out his issues with them.
"I have told him we will take care of his security but he must focus on resolving his issues with the board so that he can resume playing cricket again," Malik said.