Karachi: Nov 3, 2011
The families of jailed Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer might have refused to believe that the duo were involved in corruption but the fans on Thursday held protests to vent their anger at the latest shame to befall Pakistan cricket.
"It is shameful what these players have done. The entire nation had faith in them and revered them for their performances and talent and they let the entire nation down with their greed," a angry fan said at a protest rally in Karachi's Gulberg area.
"They have let us down and left a stigma on our cricket.
In future all our players will be under suspicion which is sad," Aqeel Ahmed, one of protesters said.
Hundreds of club cricketers and fans joined the protest carrying placards and banners denouncing Butt, Amir and Asif.
Shaharyar Khan, a budding club cricketer, said the punishments handed out to the three players were not enough and they should also be punished in Pakistan also.
"We don't want to see them again in Pakistan cricket.
Aamer is as guilty as the other two they let us down," he said.
Television channels showed footage of similar protests being held in Lahore and Multan with one protester who was a Pakistani Canadian citizen expressing anguish over the shame and embarrassment overseas Pakistanis would now have to face.
But in Lahore, the families of Butt and Amir maintained they were innocent.
Butt's sister Khadija told reporters outside her home that her brother had been trapped and that he was innocent.
"He has been framed we know him well he has never done any fixing. We are confident that God will see justice prevails and everyone will know the truth," said Khadija.
Butt's father Zulfiqar Butt wept profusely but insisted his son was innocent and had been framed.
"I will address a press conference and reveal the truth.
There is no evidence against my son yet he has been punished for something he has not done. We will keep on pleading his innocence," he said.
The family also announced that they had postponed the wedding of Khadija which was to be held in December.
Ironically, the family also had to witness the birth of Butt's second son the same day the jury in Southwark Crown Court in London held the three players guilty of spot-fixing.
Aamer's brother Ejaz sat by weeping parents' side as they refused to believe their son was guilty of corruption.
"He is young and immature. But we are confident that justice will be done. He has suffered the most and we feel for him," Ejaz said.
He said time will tell that his brother had nothing to do with the spot fixing scandal.
Aamer's mother insisted her son was just a child and was forced to obey his captain's orders.
"What else could he do. A fine would have been enough he had put himself at the mercy of the court and the judge should have shown some mercy," she said.
But many former players and analysts expressed fear that the worst was yet not over for Pakistan.
Pakistan's former captain Moin Khan felt more revelations were likely to be made in future in the case.
"I fear there is still more to come out. Let us hope for the best. But I also blame the Pakistan team management that went to England last year for this mess," he said.
Moin said the management should have acted swiftly in England to stop corrupt players from shaming Pakistan cricket.
"Why was Mazhar Majeed allowed to freely mix with the players. What was the security manager and other officials doing."
Former captain Aamir Sohail said the spot fixing trial could have opened more secrets but it had reached its logical conclusion.
"The players were convicted because of all the information that came out during the trial and showed the dark side of Pakistan cricket which is so sad," he said. (PTI)