Three Pakistani cricketers are facing separate hearings in front of a tribunal as the PCB investigates alleged corruption during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February 2017. Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Shahzaib Hasan are facing charges for a number of breaches of the anti-corruption code; Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Nawaz have already been punished; and Nasir Jamshed also faces charges. ESPNcricinfo will provide updates of developments from each player’s hearing.
Khalid Latif‘s legal counsel has written three fresh applications to the three-man tribunal seeking a fair opportunity for the player during the trial, despite missing most of the hearings. The PCB completed its process of arguments, leaving the tribunal to reach a final verdict.
Bader Alam, Latif’s lawyer, had already ended his self-imposed boycott against the tribunal on July 11, and now wants to contest the case on merit. While he missed the hearings, the PCB counsel continued with the proceedings and completed their part of arguments by presenting witnesses, depriving Latif and Alam the opportunity of cross examination.
“It was the tribunal that had cross examination in our absence and that strengthens the PCB and weakens our stance,” Alam said in a video statement. “Although we have given the written statements, we want the video recording of the proceedings [to see] whether the transcription is accurate or not. So we have written to the tribunal to allow us the opportunity to cross examine all five witnesses involved. We have also asked the tribunal if the statements recorded were after a proper oath or otherwise. With all our applications, we have urged the tribunal to set a date allowing us a fair chance to present our case.”
Latif is facing six corruption charges and, along with Alam, has been against the composition of the three-man tribunal.
The case for Shahzaib Hasan, who is provisionally suspended, was adjourned until August 16 due to the unavailability of PCB’s lawyer.
After 49 days of adjournment, Shahzaib Hasan appeared before the tribunal to initiate formal hearings. The opening batsman, who played for Karachi Kings in the PSL, is provisionally suspended for allegedly failing to report a suspect approach in time and in full detail, and also for allegedly inducing players into corruption indirectly. If found guilty, his punishment could range between a six-month ban and a life ban. He has denied all PCB anti-corruption breaches.
As proceedings resumed, Barrister Malik Kashif Rajwana, Shahzaib’s lawyer, moved an application that sought to bring all witness statements on record in written form. He also sought permission to summon Mohammad Irfan, Umar Amin and PCB investigative officer Col. Mohammad Azam for cross examination for which PCB asked for some time to respond, followed by which the case was adjourned until July 24.
Rajwana has also given two names for the players’ testimony. They comprise Shahzaib’s wife and a friend.
A separate hearing against lifting the provisional suspension of Shahzaib before the one-man tribunal was adjourned due to the absence of PCB council Tafazzul Rizvi. The hearing has been pushed back until August 15.
The proceedings on Sharjeel Khan’s case were completed when Andrew Ephgrave, operations manager of the National Crime Agency in the UK, appeared before the three-man tribunal via Skype video call to record his statement. The final arguments are set for July 19 and the hearings will formally close on July 29 followed by the verdict announcement.
The NCA official was engaged by the tribunal as a part of an independent court witness followed by Aqib Javed’s testimony. The NCA had already been working closely with the PCB in the PSL fixing investigation, tipping them with supporting evidence since the two central figures in the fixing saga – Nasir Jamshed and Yousaf Anwar – are based in England.
The PCB investigator had built a case against Sharjeel for keeping in touch with Jamshed and his acquaintance Anwar, allegedly with an intention to spot-fix. The England-based duo is already a subject of investigation in connection with bribery offences. Both were arrested and then released on bail, though the PCB had provisionally suspended Jamshed from playing any cricket.
Ephgrave, who was accompanied by a lawyer during the hearings, was cross questioned by the PCB’s lawyer on July 13, followed by Sharjeel’s lawyer the following day. Shaigan Ijaz, Sharjeel’s lawyer, completed the hearing amicably but raised an objection against Ephgrave. He told the media that during the cross examination, the NCA official confirmed he had been in touch with PCB officials.
“In this scenario, the independent court witness isn’t independent as he has been involved in the case as a party,” he said after the hearing while talking to media. “During cross examination it became crystal clear that Andrew was not an impartial witness. He had met PCB’s officials several times during the last five months. He was also accompanied by a lawyer and conferred with him on occasions before answering. I objected and duly brought this fact to the tribunal’s notice. He produced no audio or video recording involving Sharjeel Khan. He admitted that there was no telephonic contact between Sharjeel and Yousaf Anwar.”
However, Sharjeel’s lawyer hasn’t lodged any complaint or application against Ephgrave before the tribunal.
Khalid Latif will finally end his self-imposed boycott of the three-man tribunal. Latif is facing six corruption charges, allegedly for his part in the PSL fixing saga. Latif and his lawyer Bader Alam turned up to a few early hearings but have since been mostly absent.
They have tried arguing that the composition of the tribunal – made up of three men who have, in the past, been associated with the PCB – precludes their chances of a fair hearing. Twice since the hearings began in April, Latif has sought refuge in the Lahore High Court but on both occasions, his petitions have been dismissed. His arguments were also dismissed by a one-man panel set up by the PCB specially to hear him out.
Alam hinted at the possibility of going to the Supreme Court as one of the options available to him. But Latif has now been given two weeks to file a written reply against all the charges.
Former Pakistan bowler Aaqib Javed appeared before the tribunal as an independent court witness to provide his assessment on the two dot balls that lie at the center of the spot-fixing allegations against Sharjeel Khan.
The dot balls were played out by Sharjeel in the opening game of this year’s PSL. Though Aaqib said the PCB’s account of how the fix worked was plausible, he was left unconvinced by the evidence supporting the account. The PCB has built its case on the claim that it had prior intelligence that Sharjeel had allegedly pre-determined to play the two dot balls. He is facing five major charges of breaches of the PCB’s anti-corruption code and, if found guilty, could face a ban ranging between two years to life.
“The background story they told me is convincing but they didn’t show me the evidence,” Aaqib told media after the hearing. “Playing a dot ball isn’t a crime, every player plays them. It’s a part of the game. The story they explained to me after that makes you believe that this is exactly how spot-fixing can be committed. But since I wasn’t involved, nor engaged with the players, I do not have a direct source to make a judgement about it’s truth or otherwise. So I cannot say if the story they narrated is 100% true because I don’t have any reference to make sure.
“In T20 cricket there is no good or bad ball. So those dot balls were only doubtful if you see them keeping in view the story and background narrated [by the PCB’s counsel]. But if there is no story behind all this then nobody in the world can prove that a batsman could have scored on any specific ball.”
The PCB counsel Tafazzul Rizvi, after hearing the witness, filed an application to place on record interview recordings of Khalid Latif, to which Sharjeel’s lawyer Shaigan Ijaz objected. The tribunal, according to Ijaz, was not convinced but asked him to submit a counter argument by Monday. Rizvi once again requested the tribunal to question Sharjeel Khan but the request was turned down by the panel.
The three-man tribunal adjourned the hearing until July 13 and invited an official of the National Crime Agency in the UK as their second independent court witness.
Khalid Latif’s objections to the three-man tribunal hearing anti-corruption charges against him have been thrust aside once again – this time by the one-man disciplinary panel appointed by the PCB to look into his objections. Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chohan rejected Latif’s
motion after his counsel had challenged the impartiality of the tribunal.
The three-man tribunal is headed by Justice (retired) Syed Asghar Haider, who has served as a legal advisor to the PCB and also includes former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia and Wasim Bari, who has had a long-standing association with PCB in numerous capacities.
This now means Latif has no option but to face proceedings before the original tribunal. He has been boycotting the hearings since May 23
while the PCB pressed ahead with its case in his absence. Latif had also gone to the Lahore High Court to seek intervention but his petitions have been dismissed twice there.
Nasir Jamshed’s case, which concerns alleged non-cooperation in the PSL investigation and was also due to be heard before the three-man tribunal, has been adjourned. The player’s lawyer, Hasan Warraich, has asked for some more time to collect witness statements from England, a process that had been delayed due to Eid holidays.
In the other case in which Jamshed has challenged his provisional suspension, the PCB has sought adjournment, saying it needs time to
bring evidence that would support the board’s stance. Jamshed was arrested in February and subsequently released on bail by the UK’s National Crime Agency in relation to the PSL fixing case, a day after the PCB had provisionally suspended him.
Jamshed’s lawyer argued the board had “misused” the relevant clause in their anti-corruption code to impose the suspension. He said that Jamshed has to report to the NCA in October. Jamshed does have his passport back now, allowing him to travel.
Pakistan batsman Khalid Latif appeared before retired judge Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chohan on Thursday to argue that the tribunal hearing the PSL corruption case cannot be impartial.
Latif is facing six major corruption charges, but he boycotted proceedings and instead filed a separate motion questioning the fitness of the three-member panel led by Justice retired Syed Asghar Haider.
Latif and his lawyer Badar Alam said that Haider (a former legal advisor), Tauqir Zia (ex-chairman) and Wasim Bari (former team manager) had all been on the payroll of the Pakistan Cricket Board at some time and hence cannot be impartial.
Justice Chohan heard Latif’s concerns, and the rebuttal from the PCB, and has reserved his judgment. He is expected to announce it over the next two days.
Alam, after presenting his argument, briefed the media, saying the PCB could not nominate tribunal members with whom the board has had previous relations. He cited various instances in Pakistan’s legal history where judges had decided against hearing cases in which they were perceived to have conflicts of interest. For example, the high-profile Panama Papers investigation in Pakistan, which is probing potential financial irregularities that could implicate the country’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Alam said the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar, had recused himself from the case because he had been the Secretary of Law when Sharif was prime minister in 1997. The PCB however, rebutted that there was no such provision written in the code.
“The only provision mentioned in the code is that members should not have any association with the case and none of the three members has any direct or indirect association with the case,” Tafulzul Rizvi, PCB’s legal advisor said.
The PCB suffered yet another setback after the three-man tribunal rejected its application to make Sharjeel Khan appear before the tribunal for cross-examination. The request has been disposed of and the case now moves on with the tribunal inviting an independent court witness – Aaqib Javed – on July 6.
Both parties had completed their arguments on Tuesday, as the tribunal had reserved its decision. Sharjeel’s lawyer had argued that his client could not appear as a witness against himself while the PCB’s legal team has been pushing for Sharjeel to appear in person. After two days of deliberation, the tribunal has rejected the PCB’s request and decided to commit Sharjeel to a written statement only.
The tribunal is now set to engage two or more independent cricket experts to offer their opinion on the contentious dot-balls Sharjeel played out in the opening game of the PSL this year. Earlier Sharjeel’s counsel Shaigan Ijaz called on Dean Jones, Mohammad Yousaf and Sadiq Mohammad as witnesses for the defence while the PCB presented the ICC ACU chairman Ronnie Flanagan before the tribunal to offer his assistance.
There has been fresh hindrance in Khalid Latif’s spot-fixing case, with his lawyer Badar Alam refusing to appear before a newly appointed disciplinary panel chaired by retired judge Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chohan, citing insufficient time to prepare. He also said the newly appointed panel is actually an adjudicator who has no legal standing to hear his case. He, in his three-page response, pointed out that Justice retired Syed Asghar Haider, who heads the three-man tribunal looking into the alleged corruption, still holds his position and urged the PCB chairman to ask him to resign.
The PCB formed a one-man disciplinary panel on June 21, naming Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chohan to start proceedings afresh on June 22, in which he will take up the objection raised by Latif’s lawyer against the composition of the three-man tribunal. Each member of the panel has at one point in the past been on the payroll of the PCB, which, Latif argues, raises questions about their independence from the board.
The letter written to summon Latif and his council referred to Chohan, and not the head of the disciplinary panel, as the adjudicator. The PCB, however, said that was just an anomaly.
Badar Alam, Latif’s council wrote in response, that Latif had received a letter only a day before the hearing and he was unable to travel from Karachi to Lahore at such short notice. He also complained that the manner in which his client was informed was unprofessional. “Without prejudice, your short notice has created an impression of an attempt to deprive Khalid Latif from his right of due process and fair trial and principle of natural justice,” the letter read.
The PCB council rebutted Alam’s statement and said Latif was informed well in advance, and had ample time to appear. “He raised some individual objection now that he received the letter with delay, but he was duly informed in time and chose not to come,” PCB legal advisor, Taffazul Rizvi, told media. “We have urged the judge to hear our argument and make a conclusion but for the sake of natural justice, he asked to give Khalid Latif one last chance. So now he is asked to appear on June 29 at 12pm.”
A three-man tribunal has reached a decision on whether Sharjeel Khan will have to appear in front of it, for potential cross-examination. But it will only make its decision known at some point over the next few days – potentially even after a break for Eid. Both parties completed their arguments on Tuesday, with Sharjeel’s lawyer arguing his client could not appear as a witness against himself. The PCB’s legal team has been pushing for Sharjeel to appear in person.
Sharjeel’s name was put down by his lawyer earlier as a witness in the case, but he later decided not to make him available in person. His written statement, however, has been handed over to the tribunal. As part of Sharjeel’s defence, expert witnesses such as former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf and Islamabad United coach Dean Jones, as well as former Pakistan opener Sadiq Mohammad, have appeared. “We understand this request by PCB isn’t right,” Shaigan Ijaz, Sharjeel’s lawyer, told media after the hearing.
“We have submitted two references from the Supreme Court and High Court verdicts to support our argument. PCB didn’t have any reference from the Pakistan courts; hence they came up with a verdict from Kolkata High Court which I believe will go against them.”
The PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi said that Sharjeel had been avoiding the tribunal and didn’t want to be questioned. “He had given his written statement and we were under the impression that he would appear as a witness but he didn’t,” Rizvi told reporters. “He has even stopped coming to these hearings. He knows when he testifies, there are a lot of things that will go against him.”
The PCB has formed a new one-man disciplinary panel in Khalid Latif‘s case, meanwhile. The retired judge Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chohan will start proceedings afresh on June 22, in which he will take up the objection raised by Latif’s lawyer against the composition of the three-man tribunal. Each member of the panel has at one point in the past been on the payroll of the PCB, which, Latif argues raises questions about their independence from the board.
Nasir Jamshed‘s case against his provisional suspension has been postponed for another 10 days without a formal hearing. It had previously been adjourned due to the absence of the PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi.
The PCB’s application to include evidence from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) against Sharjeel Khan has been rejected. The three-man tribunal’s decision means the PCB will have to stick to the original evidence presented, under which the player was charged with five breaches of the Anti-Corruption Code. The case now hinges on another request by the PCB to push for Sharjeel’s appearance before the tribunal for a cross-examination. The tribune will take up the matter from June 18.
“We were convinced that this application would be dismissed because it was completely speculative,” Shaigan Ijaz, Sharjeel’s lawyer told ESPNcricinfo. “PCB itself didn’t really know what they were looking for and it was only surmises and conjectures. Such an application could not be allowed at this stage when PCB and Sharjeel had completed their evidence and the case is in its final stages.”
In what appears to be another interesting turn-around the tribunal has decided to put its proceedings against Khalid Latif on hold. The tribunal will send a reference to the PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, informing him about the objection raised by Latif and his lawyer. The case has been adjourned for an indefinite period.
A separate hearing regarding the provisional suspension of Nasir Jamshed was adjourned due to the absence of the PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi. The one-man disciplinary panel, headed by retired judge Asghar Haider, will hear the case on June 22. “PCB, I insist, have no evidence against Nasir Jamshed which is why they are pushing dates over and over,” Hasan Warriach, Jamshed’s lawyer, told reporters. “In fact they don’t have anything against any player and soon they will be taking all the cases back. They now want to wait for the NCA investigation and want to delay the proceedings until then.”
Khalid Latif appeared before the tribunal along with his lawyer Badar Alam after being absent for four weeks. The hearing kicked off with Alam once again expressing his distrust about the formation of the tribunal and the proceedings were dominated by arguments concerning the matter. After that, the hearing was adjourned until June 16.
The tribunal heard Alam’s argument in which he continued to raise objections about the members, saying that each one had been on the payroll of the PCB in the past. It was demanded by Alam that the head of the tribunal – Justice Asghar Haider – should send a reference against himself to the PCB chairman.
Alam, however, agreed to continue appearing at the hearing under protest. “We are not expecting justice from this tribunal,” Alam told reporters after the hearing. “We tried to make the tribunal realise that they cannot go on like this as the tribunal should be impartial and each member should be independent.
“The move to carry on with the proceedings in our absence was illegal. In fact they don’t have evidence and cannot make a case against Khalid Latif. We had boycotted the earlier proceedings because of the misbehaviour by the PCB lawyer. Now we demand that tribunal head should send a reference on our objection to the PCB chairman.”
PCB lawyer Tafulzul Rizvi rebutted Alam’s argument and insisted that all proceedings were according to the law written in the PCB anti-corruption code and the formation of the tribunal was fair and according to the book. “They at one stage boycotted the proceedings and returned under protest raising a lot of objections about everything,” the PCB lawyer said. “The code is the same which ICC has given to all its members around the world and no one had ever refused to accept it.”
Khalid Latif’s attempt to question the basis of the PCB tribunal in front of which he is facing corruption charges continues. At the start of his corruption hearings in front of the tribunal in May, Latif had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against the formation of tribunal, objecting specifically to the members who make up the tribunal. His petition had been dismissed at the time but Latif has chosen to appeal against the decision. The case has now been adjourned until July 10.
Latif has been charged with six breaches of the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code during the PSL in February. Along with his lawyer, he has boycotted the tribunal hearings, though he is now scheduled – and appears willing – to appear before the tribunal on June 14.
In Sharjeel Khan’s hearing, the tribunal has taken up the PCB’s request to include evidence from the UK’s National Crime Agency in the ongoing investigation. The request will be considered in the next hearing on June 15. The PCB’s lawyer also sought the appearance of Sharjeel Khan for cross-examination before the tribunal and has asked for time to provide more evidence.
Sharjeel’s lawyer is not happy with the request. The NCA is simultaneously investigating the case but in the UK where it had arrested Nasir Jamshed in connection to it in February. Jamshed was released but awaits his fate in that investigation. The PCB said at the last hearing that it was awaiting information from the NCA which could impact the case.
“The case has already entered its decisive moments and now the PCB is attempting to delay it unnecessarily,” Shaighan Ijaz, Sharjeel’s lawyer, told the media. “We have duly objected on the PCB’s request as NCA investigation is separate from the one PCB had done. The case was centered on PCB investigation and all the proceedings were heard accordingly. Now this delay and twist is not understandable. Plus the tribunal is not bound by the findings of NCA. And any investigation in which Sharjeel Khan has not been associated with cannot be used against him.”
Taffazul Rizvi, the PCB’s legal advisor, insisted that with proceedings still underway, the PCB is entitled to bring in more evidence. “The evidence process isn’t over yet and our demands are fair because we understand the incoming evidences are going to help in this case. So the tribunal needs to know about it and these evidences are relevant to be heard.”
The PCB has lodged an application with the three-man tribunal, requesting them to include the evidence of the UK’s National Crime Agency in the ongoing investigation into corruption in the 2017 PSL. According to PCB lawyer, the evidence was “damning”.
The PCB has also sought the presence of Sharjeel Khan once again, wanting the Pakistan batsman to be questioned at the hearings. They had earlier withdrawn the request on June 7.
Sharjeel’s lawyer had submitted a written statement by the player, but refused to put him up him for cross examination during the hearings. The hearing has been adjourned until June 13.
In another development the PCB, in a regular hearing concerning Nasir Jamshed, gave their opening briefing before the hearing was pushed to June 30.
In a surprising turn of events, the PCB has asked the three-man tribunal to postpone proceedings until later this month. It has also withdrawn its application from yesterday in which it sought the presence of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif to be questioned at the hearings.
According to the PCB, the move is a result of imminent developments in the UK, where the National Crime Agency (NCA) is also involved in investigations emanating from the allegations of spot-fixing in the PSL. Early in the case, the NCA had arrested – and subsequently released – Nasir Jamshed, and the PCB is also treating him as a central figure in the case.
“Today the NCA in England established contact with the PCB and informed GM legal officially that they will share some evidence of the spot-fixing investigation at the end of this month,” the PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi told media after the hearing. “So this was an important development and it was PCB duty to convey this to the tribunal.
“We will leave it to the tribunal as PCB believes it already has solid evidence. But in order to avoid again charging player with new evidence we will wait till end of month. We don’t know what they are and how far they can impact the case but tribunal asked us to give a formal application which will be taken up on Friday. But whatever the evidence we have presented so far it is ample enough to prosecute the players.”
The PCB was supposed to present an application on calling Sharjeel and Khalid as witnesses to be cross examined. But according to Shaighan Ijaz, Sharjeel Khan’s lawyer, Rizvi unexpectedly requested the tribunal to hold the proceedings.
“This move baffled all of us as the case is about to enter the final phase and now they suddenly want to hold back the proceedings,” Ijaz told ESPNcricinfo. “PCB lawyers were clearly disturbed because they know they are losing the case and now suddenly they want the case to be held for some time so that they can have more evidences. If they weren’t prepared why they have wasted their own and our time. With this move… even the tribunal was surprised for a moment.”
A battle is on between the PCB and the lawyers of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif to try and get the two openers to appear at the tribunal. Taffazul Rizvi, the PCB’s legal advisor, wants both players to testify at the tribunal, but Sharjeel’s lawyer has objected to the request.
Both sides have completed their arguments and cross examined each other’s witnesses. Shaighan Ijaz had initially listed his client Sharjeel to take the stand and testify but later pulled him off the witness list, which included expert witnesses like former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf and Islamabad United’s coach Dean Jones.
“As the burden of proof lies with the PCB, after examining the evidence put forward by PCB and by experts from our side, we felt there was no need to produce Sharjeel as his own witness,” Ijaz said.
Rizvi however submitted a request to summon Sharjeel, which would allow the tribunal to cross examine the player. Ijaz questioned the legality of this, arguing the PCB, a party in the case, cannot dictate to the tribunal on the proceedings.
The PCB, however, is using a provision from the board’s anti-corruption code which says that the tribunal shall not be bound by the rules governing the admissibility of evidence in judicial or other proceedings. Clause 3.2.2 of the anti-corruption code reads: “The Anti-Corruption Tribunal may draw an adverse inference against the Participant who is asserted to have committed an offence under this Anti-Corruption Code based on his/her failure or refusal, without compelling justification, after a request made in a reasonable time in advance of any hearing, to appear at the hearing (either in person or by video or telephone link, as directed by the Anti-Corruption Tribunal) and to answer any relevant questions.”
Before making its final decision, the tribunal is keen to engage two independent cricket experts, who have no links with either party, to offer their opinion on the contentious dot balls Sharjeel played out in the PSL opening game this year. This has, for now, been put on hold after the PCB’s request to have Sharjeel put on the witness stand.
The preliminary hearing in the PCB’s case against Nasir Jamshed was held before a one-man disciplinary panel comprising retired judge Asghar Haider. Jamshed, who is based in England, argued through his local lawyer in Lahore that his provisional suspension be lifted, claiming the charges against him are to do with non-cooperation and not corruption. The PCB presented its case, read out the charges and offered its initial arguments before the case was adjourned till June 16.
The three-man anti-corruption tribunal has adjourned the Khalid Latif hearing until June 14, after the player requested to be the part of the proceedings. Latif and his lawyer had been boycotting the hearing till now, having cited concerns about the fairness of the investigation, but then emailed the tribunal requesting that they be allowed to put forth their defence. Latif will subsequently appear at the hearing on June 14. The PCB’s lawyers have completed presenting their case against Latif, and are set for closing arguments before the tribunal.
Separately, on June 13, Latif’s appeal in the Lahore High Court against the make-up of the tribunal is set to be heard. His lawyer had earlier filed a petition against the constitution of the tribunal, which was dismissed, but he then filed an appeal.
Mohammad Yousuf made an appearance at the tribunal hearing as part of Sharjeel Khan’s defence. Yousuf, the former Pakistan captain and one of their greatest batsman, told the tribunal he believed that Sharjeel did not deliberately play out two dot balls in the opening match of PSL 2017 against Peshawar Zalmi. Those two balls are under particular scrutiny as the PCB believes they were pre-arranged.
“I have played cricket myself and on that experience I can say that no one can play dot balls on purpose like this,” Yousuf said. “Sharjeel played both the balls on merit and he played forceful shots on both and one [stroke] could have resulted in a single. Had he wanted to play a dot ball he would have either left it or played with a dead bat.”
Yousuf, a veteran of 90 Tests and 288 ODIs, was keen to emphasise that he appeared purely in the capacity of an expert on cricketing matters; he distanced himself from other aspects of the case. Sharjeel’s next hearing will be on June 2.
Some progress was made in Khalid Latif’s hearing as the PCB finished presenting its witnesses before the tribunal. Latif and his lawyer have been boycotting proceedings but have now emailed the tribunal requesting that they be allowed to advance their defence from June 14. The tribunal will consider the request on Tuesday.
In a separate development, Shahzaib Hasan has written to the PCB asking for his name to be taken off the Exit Control List so that he can travel to England to visit family. The application was shot down by tribunal, citing its limited jurisdiction; instead, it asked the player to write to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which has placed him on the list as part of its investigation into the corruption allegations.
The preliminary hearing in the PCB’s case against Nasir Jamshed has been pushed to June 9 at the request of the board’s lawyers.
Jamshed was charged in April for violating the PCB’s anti-corruption code in relation to obstructing and not cooperating with an investigation. In response, he threatened to sue the board for maligning his name and asked them to furnish the evidence against him on the public domain.
On Friday, after the first hearing of the case was postponed, his lawyer Hasan Warriach maintained a similarly aggressive stance. “They have shown their inability to give an opening brief today and asked the hearing to be adjourned,” he told reporters. “They didn’t give a valid reason but we have raised objection and pushed them to give a reason. They had offered an excuse about their workload [being too high]. Now they will brief on June 9 and then the full timeline [of the case] will be chalked.
“We have already voiced serious concerns about the proceedings. They [PCB’s lawyers] are not working anywhere near the basic parameters of natural justice. They are, instead, leading it very casually without any evidence. They have created a strange atmosphere in [the] media with false allegations about spot-fixing and spoiled the cricketing environment.
“Instead of focussing on cricket, they have initiated this futile activity and are taking it on without any evidence,” Warriach continued. “I had even challenged them that to present a single piece of evidence that implicates Nasir Jamshed in any kind of spot-fixing but they did not and I am sure they are not going to make any substantial movement in the case.”
The Khalid Latif case came up later in the day and Tafulzul Rizvi, arguing for the PCB, presented to the three-member tribunal another witness to cross-examine. Latif was not at the hearing on Friday. His lawyer had asked for an adjournment until he could perform Umrah [pilgrimage] and return but the tribunal had not granted their request. The next hearing is on Monday in which PCB will close their argument allowing the tribunal to take a call.
Sharjeel Khan called upon his one-time coach and former Pakistan opener Sadiq Mohammad as a witness in his defence of the corruption charges he is facing. Sadiq, 72, appeared in person and offered himself to be cross examined by the PCB lawyers.
“They asked hypothetical questions from Sadiq, one of the most respected and senior former cricketers,” Shaigan Ijaz, Sharjeel’s lawyer, told ESPNcricinfo. “They have the right to ask those questions but it had no relation with the case. His [Sadiq’s] argument was that both the dot balls [which Sharjeel faced in the PSL 2017 opening game] had nothing suspicious about them. It didn’t reflect predetermination but had Sharjeel wanted to play the dot balls he could have easily left those deliveries because those were actually pitched outside off.”
The PCB has built its case on the claim that it had prior intelligence Sharjeel was going to play two dot balls. However, his lawyer argued that it was easy to form that opinion with hindsight. “It’s very easy to claim that we knew things beforehand, but if they knew them, why didn’t they stop it instead of letting corruption take place?” Ijaz asked.
The next hearing has been adjourned until Monday.
In Khalid Latif’s case, proceedings continued with the PCB presenting its witness to be cross-examined by the tribunal. Latif and his lawyer were absent again; however, the tribunal has written to the lawyer asking them to appear.
Meanwhile, Latif’s lawyer sent a legal notice to the PCB chairman for withholding the player’s PSL payment. The PCB responded, arguing that as Latif hadn’t played a single match for Islamabad United “and his services were terminated, there is no obligation for him to be paid for the matches he didn’t play”.
Elsewhere, Shahzaib Hasan’s application to lift his provisional suspension was heard in front of a one-man disciplinary tribunal. Shahzaib was suspended on March 17 with immediate effect from all forms of cricket for allegedly failing to report a suspect approach in time and in full detail, and also for allegedly inducing players into corruption indirectly.
Shahzaib’s lawyer asked for a lengthy adjournment and the next hearing is scheduled for July 7. But his hearings in front of the same tribunal that is hearing cases against Sharjeel and Latif will begin before that, on June 1.
The two dot balls Sharjeel Khan played in the opening match of this year’s PSL came under scrutiny as the hearing into alleged corruption in the league continued on Wednesday. Dean Jones, Sharjeel’s coach at Islamabad United appeared before the tribunal via video call.
Sharjeel made a four-ball 1 as Islamabad chased 173 in 18 overs in Dubai. At the start of the second over he played two consecutive dot balls off Hassan Ali, before he was leg-before off the third.
The PCB argued that he played the dots deliberately as part of a corrupt plan. But Sharjeel has denied involvement in any corrupt activity. According to his lawyer Shaigan Ijaz, Jones said to the tribunal that the four balls Sharjeel faced in the opening match were played on merit; Islamabad had already scored 14 from the opening over.
“Sharjeel played four balls in his innings though only two are contentious but Jones said that all four he played were on merit,” Ijaz told the media after the hearing. “Even he confirmed that there were no such concerns about the shot selection.
“Jones also said that since the run-rate was already high in the first over in fact we were ahead of the required rate so there was no point of playing a high-risk shot in the opening two balls of the second over.
“He isn’t a layman and not only is he the Islamabad United coach but a respected figure in world cricket. He is also a commentator who has worked throughout the world and seen a lot of cricket and we believe that his opinion does matter.”
Ijaz is expected to present another witness on Thursday.
The hearing against Sharjeel’s team-mate and fellow opener Khalid Latif continued on Wednesday as well. And as has been the case since Saturday, neither Latif nor his lawyer chose to attend the hearing.
The PCB has sent responses to Latif on the various concerns he has expressed – about the composition of the tribunal as well as wanting video from the first day of the hearing. The tribunal has asked him to appear on May 29.
In the continued absence of Khalid Latif and his lawyer, the PCB proceeded to build its case against the former Pakistan opener. The board presented three more witnesses in its case, coming close to the completion of its arguments.
Part of the PCB’s case against Latif is built on the fact that his bat grips were those given to him by a man the board thinks to be a key figure in the attempted fix, grips which would ultimately act as a signal.
“Khalid Latif had built his case on the basis that the [bat] grips weren’t rolled on his bats by him but another other team-mate who mistakenly done it while he [Latif] was in bathroom,” the PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi said.
“But we called upon this particular player who completely denied any such move and said he did not roll any such grip on Khalid’s bat. So now the case in at the final stage and we have couple of more witnesses to present tomorrow before the tribunal make its judgement.”
Latif has boycotted the tribunal hearings this week, protesting against its composition. The tribunal has asked Latif to appear and defend the charges. The tribunal has 40 days to complete the hearing according to the anti-corruption code and will pass judgement even if Latif refuses to appear.
The other opener facing charges, Sharjeel Khan, has asked the tribunal to listen to two of his witnesses on Skype as both are currently outside Pakistan. The application has been accepted and the hearing will continue on Wednesday. The PCB has already completed its argument against Sharjeel, who is facing five corruption charges out of which he has accepted one – which is the failure to report a corrupt approach.
Sharjeel has denied the other charges of spot-fixing, which stem from the first game of this season’s PSL. His lawyer will start the defence on Wednesday.
The PCB has also taken up the matter of Nasir Jamshed’s letter to revoke his provisional suspension and will respond to the player on June 5.
Nasir Jamshed has challenged the provisional suspension imposed on him by the PCB through an application written by his lawyer in Pakistan. Hassan Iqbal Warriach sent a letter to the PCB questioning the provision that was used for the suspension, arguing that it was a “harsh and oppressive step to the detriment of [his] fundamental rights”.
Jamshed, who is based in England, was provisionally suspended on February 13 this year in relation to the investigations into alleged corruption in the Pakistan Super League. The PCB used clause 4.7.1 from the anti-corruption code according to which the board has the discretion to provisionally suspend the player without charge under exceptional circumstances. Those circumstances are spelt out in the code: “…where any relevant police authority has arrested and/or charged a participant with an offence under any relevant criminal law… that may also constitute an offence under this anti-corruption code”.
Jamshed was arrested and subsequently released on bail by the UK’s National Crime Agency in relation to the case, a day after the PCB had suspended him. Jamshed’s lawyer argued the PCB had “misused” the clause.
“The PCB, while, provisionally suspending my client has not only misused but also bulldozed the very intent of clause 4.7.1 of the PCB anti-corruption code, herein after referred to as the Code. As PCB can only exercise its power conferred by article 4.7.1 when the PCB has charged a participant for corruption or exceptional circumstances exist relevant to the participant or the integrity of sports is being undermined.”
The letter further read: “That in the present case my client has neither been charged for corruption nor there is any exceptional ground available with the PCB to suspend my client. As my client has no corruption charges, his provisional suspension cannot be justified in any manner whatsoever.”
Jamshed has since been charged by the PCB, not yet for acts of corruption but for two violations of the code which are related to obstructing and not cooperating with an investigation. He had also threatened the PCB with legal action for maligning his name.
Meanwhile, proceedings continued in Khalid Latif’s hearing, without the attendance of Latif or his lawyer. The PCB continued to present its case against him to the three-man tribunal and is expected to complete their case by Tuesday. Latif and his lawyer walked out of the hearings in protest on Saturday and continue to boycott the proceedings.
Khalid Latif’s lawyer Badar Alam boycotted the second day of hearings in Lahore, after the tribunal leading the investigation into corruption allegations in PSL 2017 refused to hand over a video tape of the hearings that took place on the first day.
“We will not attend the hearing until we are handed the video tape of May 19 proceedings,” Alam told ESPNcricinfo. “We had already objected to the constitution of the tribunal and it’s our legal right to raise our concern if it’s against natural justice.
“The head of the tribunal Justice Asghar Haider (former PCB legal advisor) has been affiliated with the board and how can he be impartial in the case? We still had been appearing before the tribunal because we want justice, but during the proceeding things are not being fair.
“I am disappointed that the whole proceedings are undertaken like jirga (informal council) and not according to the rule of law. The evidence is merely based on presumption as they are ignoring Khalid’s statements, in which he kept on saying that he wants to get rid of these bookies. They are manipulating statements and want to make them as what they want to present. We do not expect justice from them and request PCB to form a disciplinary committee to take up our objections before we return.”
The second day of hearings began at 11am at the National Cricket Academy but Latif and his lawyer left after two hours in protest. The tribunal continued to hear the PCB’s arguments and the hearing went on until 4pm. The PCB lawyer Tafulzul Rizvi rejected Alam’s objections.
“Even if the counsel of Khalid Latif has boycotted, the proceedings will continue under code and the matter will be decided accordingly,” Rizvi told ESPNcricinfo. “It’s unfortunate that questions are being raised about the integrity of a former high court judge, who possesses impeccable reputation. I am legal advisor PCB since last 11 years, so if retired Justice Asghar Haider was the legal advisor before me it still is under the code and there is no bar on him to head the tribunal.”
May 19 – Heated argument overshadows Latif’s hearing
The opening day of Khalid Latif‘s hearing was overshadowed by a heated argument between Taffazul Rizvi, the PCB lawyer, and Badar Alam, Latif’s lawyer. Proceedings had begun with the PCB presenting its case with the help of video interviews and other evidence compiled during the investigation in UAE and Pakistan.
Rizvi said on those tapes Khalid admitted he met with bookies more than once. “One (piece) of … evidence is that we seized the bat grips that the bookie had given and they were recovered from Khalid’s kit bag,” Rizvi said. “These were also on the bats which were ready to use. The bat grips given to Khalid… which he was allegedly supposed to use was a signal to indicate he would participate in an act of fixing.”
But after the hearings ended, both sides let their frustrations out in front of the media outside the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Alam said the PCB had treated his client unfairly and expressed reservations about the impartiality of the tribunal. He also accused the investigating team of manipulating Latif’s statements.
Rizvi denied the allegations, claiming that Alam repeatedly threatened to boycott the hearings; Latif’s lawyer has been particularly combative, having filed a petition challenging the formation of the tribunal in the Lahore High Court last month. The petition was dismissed.
May 18 – ICC ACU head appears at Sharjeel hearing
The ICC ACU chairman Ronnie Flanagan appeared before the tribunal to offer his assistance. Though he didn’t go into details of the case, Flanagan praised the PCB’s anti-corruption and vigilance unit for their work on this case. “We are only trying to assist in the process; I must say that the tribunal proceedings are taking place in a very professional way,” Flanagan said. “I work very closely with domestic anti-corruption units around the world and I must add that the PCB Anti-Corruption and Vigilance Unit have shown great determination in their fight against corruption.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss exact evidence at this stage. The inquiry was led by the PCB, and at a certain stage we reached intelligence from the British Crime Agency. We simply passed that information to the PCB and they already had the same intelligence. The intelligence was shared before the start of the PSL .”
Sharjeel’s next hearing is adjourned till May 24th.
May 17 – Umar Amin appears as witness
Another witness from PCB, Col Khalid, who is a part of the Pakistan board’s ACU, appeared before the tribunal to record his statement. The cricketer Umar Amin also appeared as a witness along with PCB legal advisor Salman Naseer.
Mohammad Nawaz, the allrounder and one of the finds of the first PSL, was banned for two months (with one suspended) after he pleaded guilty to not reporting a suspicious approach in time to authorities.
Nasir Jamshed, who the PCB considers central to the entire case, released a video on social media in which he accused the Pakistan board of maligning his name and threatened legal action against the board.
May 16 – PCB presents its video evidence
All interviews conducted by the PCB’s ACU were played, including the audio and video interview and all WhatsApp conversations between players. Col Mohammad Azam, the head of the ACU, appeared as a witness.
May 15 – Sharjeel Khan’s hearing begins
The hearing into the case against Sharjeel Khan began with the PCB playing a video interview the player gave in Dubai in front of the tribunal. He was cross-questioned by the PCB lawyer, and match footage from the PSL opening game, in which Sharjeel played out two dot balls – allegedly as part of a spot-fixing arrangement – was played.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent