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May 25, 2000


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The Justice Qayyum Report

Editor's Note: Follows the full text of the Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum Commission's report into betting, bribery and match-fixing in Pakistan.

Cricket has always put itself forth as a gentleman's game. However, this aspect of the game has come under strain time and again, sadly with increasing regularity. From Bodyline to Trevor Chappel bowling under-arm, from sledging to ball tampering, instances of gamesmanship have been on the rise. Instances of sportsmanship like Courtney Walsh refusing to run out a Pakistani batsman for backing up too soon in a crucial match of the 1987 World Cup; Imran Khan, as Captain calling back his counterpart Kris Srikanth to bat again after the latter was annoyed with the decision of the umpire; batsmen like Majid Khan walking if they knew they were out; are becoming rarer yet. Now, with the massive influx of money and sheer increase in number of matches played, cricket has become big business. Now like other sports before it (Baseball (the Chicago 'Black-Sox' against the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series), Football (allegations against Bruce Grobelaar; lights going out at the Valley, home of Charlton Football club)) Cricket faces the threat of match-fixing, the most serious threat the game has faced in its life.

Match-fixing is an international threat. It is quite possibly an international reality too. Donald Topley, a former county cricketer, wrote in the Sunday Mirror in 1994 that in a county match between Essex and Lancashire in 1991 season, both the teams were heavily paid to fix the match. Time and again, former and present cricketers (e.g. Manoj Prabhakar going into pre-mature retirement and alleging match-fixing against the Indian team; the Indian Team refusing to play against Pakistan at Sharjah after their loss in the Wills Trophy 1991 claiming matches there were fixed) accused different teams of match-fixing. The Sri Lankan Board ordered an inquiry after a complete batting collapse led to their loss in the Singer Cup Final against Pakistan, the match that at a stage they were easily winning. Very recently allegations that have come to the fore through Chris Lewis, Stephen Flemming etc. and they only demonstrate the world-wide nature of this threat.

However, this commission is limited to inquiring into the matter so far as the Pakistan Cricket team is concerned. For the Pakistani Cricket team, the allegation of match-fixing seems to have started when Asif Iqbal was the captain of the Pakistani team in 1979-'80. Asif was accused of betting on the toss. G. Vishwanath, an Indian cricketer, in his book has written that when he went for the toss with the Pakistani skipper, the latter without completing the toss said "congratulations" to the former, saying that the Indian skipper had won the toss.

In the Press Fareshteh Gati-Aslam, a sports journalist, wrote that in a one day match held at Nottingham, UK, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis deliberately bowled so badly that the England team scored more than 300 runs, though earlier they had totally demolished the English team in the Test Series.

In the 1994-'95 season, the Australian team toured Pakistan and lost the Test series 1-0. After the series, three of the Australian players, Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh accused the then Pakistani captain, Salim Malik, of offering them bribes to bowl badly in a Test and a One-Day. (Pakistan had eventually won the Test match by one wicket.)

In the backdrop of these allegations, the Pakistan Cricket Board (the 'PCB') requested Jst. (Retd.) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim to hold an inquiry into the allegations by the Australian players against Salim Malik. He submitted his report on October 21, 1995 in which he acquitted Salim Malik of all the charges primarily on the basis of insufficient evidence on record. The Australian cricketers had refused to come to Pakistan to testify and that was crucial.

Almost at the same time as the Australian allegations, Pakistani cricketers Basit Ali and Rashid Latif had accused some of the Pakistani players of match-fixing. Both even went into premature retirement during an important tour of South Africa. Aaqib Javed and Aamir Sohail also came up with similar kind of allegations.

In the interim, a Probe committee inquiry chaired made by Justice Ejaz Yousuf was also made which tentatively suggested that certain players be suspended from playing cricket. However, this inquiry was abandoned as it was felt that the committee did not have the powers of a judge which could compell people to speak up. Furthermore, this enquiry was done ex parte and no opportunity was given to the accused to cross-examine witnesses or have representation. As such this inquiry was in breach of natural justice and may be disregarded. (The Senate too has thereafter looked into the matter.) The above difficulties are mentioned in the letter from the then Chief Executive Majid Khan to the Patron of the Board, the President of Pakistan.

In such circumstances, the former Chief Executive of Pakistan Cricket Board, Mr. Majid Khan decided to write to the Patron. In the said letter Majid Khan requested that a judicial inquiry be conducted into the allegations of betting and match-fixing, as he felt that only a judicial commission would be able to find the truth. Ordinary domestic inquiry officers had no power vested in them to either summon any person, nor to compel their attendance or to make them give statements on oath and in case they perjured, to be able to deal with them.

The Patron was so minded to forward the matter to the Federal Government which in turn requested the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to nominate one judge for a one man judicial Commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956. On the recommendation of the Learned Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum was appointed to this Commission.

The Commission of Inquiry was given its mandate in the following terms:-

To probe into the allegations regarding betting and match-fixing against the members of the Pakistan Cricket Team.

To determine and identify the persons including members of the team responsible for betting and match-fixing.

To recommend such actions as may be appropriate; and

To suggest measures to avoid any future incidence.


Mail Sports Editor