Court Asks to File Case Against Azam in Harassment Matter: Report

The Pakistan Cricket Board has not commented on this matter yet.       

2 min read
Pakistan batsman Babar Azam.

In what is some bad news for Pakistan cricket, a Lahore court has directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to file a case against Babar Azam on charges of blackmail and harassment.

There are two others involved along with the Pakistan captain in the charges filed by Hamiza Mukhtar; they stem from allegations Mukhtar filed last year, ESPNCricinfo reported.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has not commented on this matter yet.

Before Pakistan's tour to New Zealand, Mukhtar had levelled allegations of harassment and exploitation in press conference and approached a court as well. The court had directed the police to probe the matter.

That case was never registered, however, as Azam's legal team secured a stay order from the Lahore High Court - both the original direction and Thursday's have been made by the lower sessions court.

The High Court proceedings had been adjourned after an initial hearing until 22 March as Babar was leading Pakistan in the series against South Africa and subsequently in the PSL, both requiring him to be inside a biosecure bubble.

Since then, however, Mukhtar has filed a complaint with the FIA saying that she has been on the receiving end of threatening phone calls and messages from unidentified people. On investigation, the FIA found one of the numbers to be registered to Azam - who they refer to as Muhammad Babar.

Azam, who was summoned by the agency, didn’t appear but instead his brother Faisal Azam appeared and asked for more time.

In their original report, once Azam didn't appear, the FIA report concluded, "This shows guilty form [sic] his part." Judge Hamid Hussain on Thursday directed the FIA "to proceed further with respect to registration of the FIR against the culprits within the stipulated time following legal formalities".

Azam's family, however, are understood to argue they did not receive the FIA summons. ESPNcricinfo reported they will once again approach the Lahore High Court.

"The Honourable High Court in a connected case has already restrained the police from registering the FIR," Azam's legal counsel Barrister Haris Azmat said. "The instant order has been passed without issuing a notice to Babar in violation of his fundamental rights of fair trial as guaranteed in the constitution. The order is prima facie against the law and will be assailed soon."

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