A fact-finding committee deputed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to investigate former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider's sudden flight from Dubai while in the middle of playing a one-day series against South Africa last month, has come up with big question marks behind the motives for his actions.
Haider maintains that he sought security and asylum in the UK because his life and those of his relatives were under threat from bookies who had demanded he help them rig matches during the series.
But the committee has drawn attention to the fact that Haider had earlier considered migrating to the UK. "Some close associates of Haider, when contacted in UK, advised that during his last visit to UK with Pakistan team this summer, he had made enquiries on settling down in UK," said the committee report.
The report further states that Haider did not confide his predicament even to pace bowler Wahab Riaz whom he was close to and who had spent a good part of the evening before his flight, with him. "His view was that Haider was normal and did not look worried," the report says. "He did not discuss anything with Wahab with whom he was quite friendly."
According to the report, Haider told the committee that he received the first threat two days before the fourth ODI. "When he was walking in the parking area of the hotel, he met a person who said to him he must do what he is told to do in cricket else he and his family would be killed."
What appears to have been the flash-point in convincing him to leave, however, came after that. "Later, he saw a note in his room which was on the hotel notepad on which some amounts and female names were mentioned." He has since handed over the note to Scotland Yard.
The report also expressed doubts why Haider would choose to flee to the UK, when Dubai is an equally safe place and also why he didn't fly back to Pakistan itself, to be by the side of his family.
Furthermore, the report states, "It is also quite strange that in the presence of a full-time security manager of the team and the other PCB officials, Haider deemed it appropriate to approach the media rather than the PCB which is his employer."
In conclusion, the report recommends that the PCB seek a detailed written report from Haider himself concerning all the minute details of his departure to the UK.
Haider is still in the UK and is due to appear for another interview with asylum authorities on Jan 5, before reporting to the police on Jan 10.