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Ashraf drops suit against Akhtar

May 05, 2008 16:55 IST

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf on Monday withdrew his Rs 220 million defamation suit against fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar after a top government official mediated for a reconciliation between them.

The meeting, which took place in Islamabad on Sunday night, was brokered by Rehman Malik, a top man in the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and advisor to the Prime Minister on interior affairs.

Both Shoaib and Ashraf were present at the meeting.

Tafazzul Rizvi, the lawyer who filed the defamation suit in the civil court on behalf of Ashraf, said Akhtar had shown remorse for his remarks and behaviour and asked for forgiveness.

The lawsuit was filed in a Lahore court and was to come up for hearing on May 16.

"Shoaib apologised to Nasim Ashraf in person and accepted that he had levelled false and baseless allegations against him in the meeting," Rizvi said.

The PCB Chief had filed the defamation suit against Akhtar after the fast bowler alleged on a television show that he (Ashraf) had demanded money from him and other players for signing Indian Premier League contracts.

"Ashraf has decided not to pursue the defamation suit against the pacer and it will be withdrawn since his honour and dignity stand vindicated," Rizvi said.

Ashraf confirmed that he dropped the defamation suit against Shoaib Akhtar and has forgiven the banned fast bowler after his repeated public apology.

"I have withdrawn the defamation case as my honour was vindicated after Akhtar apologised publicly and retracted his baseless allegations," Ashraf said.

"I had forgiven him as it was a matter of principle," he added.

Akhtar also expressed happiness about the rapprochement with Ashraf which he said became possible after intervention by leading political personalities of the country.

He thanked political figures Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain and Rehman Malik for the interest they took in his case and for helping him out.

"I went for a rapprochement because this issue was causing a lot of harm to Pakistan and our cricket and it was not good. I wanted this to end," he said.

Akhtar said he will be going to India with the blessings of the Board chairman and the prayers of the people.

Rizvi said as far as the Appellate tribunal proceedings are concerned they are totally independent and have got no link with the defamation suit.

"The defamation suit and the matter of Shoaib's appeal against the five-year ban on him are two separate and independent things. The ban matter is being dealt with by a former high court judge and will be decided according to the law," Rizvi said.

But sources said Akhtar, who has been cleared to play in the IPL after having his ban suspended for one month by the tribunal, is likely to be forgiven for all his offences.

"Shoaib might have got off earlier last week when the tribunal held its first meeting in Lahore. He was supposed to come and repeat his apology statement in person before the media. But he didn't do this and instead his lawyer read out his statement and this was not acceptable to the board," a source said.

He said when Akhtar returns from India, and when the appellate tribunal resumes its proceedings, he is expected to make a public apology for everything and this would be accepted by the board and they will request the tribunal to close the case and lift the ban.

"Shoaib has in the last few weeks been using all his political connections but even Rehman Malik has warned him that this is his final chance and in future the board will not be told to go soft on him," the source said.

Akhtar left for New Delhi on Monday from Lahore.

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