Karachi: Banned Pakistan opener, Sharjeel Khan said he has been treated unfairly by the PCB tribunal in the Pakistan Super League spot-fixing case, a claim rejected by the Board as "a ploy to gain sympathy".
Interacting with the media for the first time in nearly 10 months, Sharjeel claimed that the punishment of five years ban handed out to him by the PCB anti-corruption tribunal was unjust and that he would appeal the ban in the courts now.
"I swear by God that I am innocent and that I didn't accept any offer to spot-fix. I have fully cooperated with the PCB throughout this case and I expected justice from them. I am sorry to say the PCB tribunal unfairly tried to implicate me in the case," Sharjeel said.
The left-handed opener was handed a five-year ban – half of it suspended by the tribunal in September, while a full five-year ban and one million rupees fine was imposed on another batsman, Khalid Latif in the PSL fixing case.
Sharjeel appealed the ban with an independent adjudicator of the PCB but it was dismissed last month.
He said now he had no option left but to approach the High court for justice.
"I also appeal to the Prime Minister, Army Chief and Chief Justice to look into my case and help me in getting justice," Sharjeel said.
As expected the pleadings of Sharjeel and his intention to approach the High court has not gone down well with the PCB which is expected to release an official statement shortly.
"It is nothing but a ploy to gain sympathy. The tribunal found him guilty on all charges of the anti-corruption code. He was provided with a transparent process to clear his name. But he was found guilty," a PCB official said.
He said the PCB didn't expect Sharjeel to react this way.
Sharjeel also claimed that there appeared to be some hidden agenda behind banning him and he hoped the truth would come out soon.
"The punishment handed out to me has not only been painful for me and my family but also for my well wishers and supporters. I will take every step to clear my name and stage a comeback," he added.
His lawyer, Shaighan Ejaz confirmed they didn't accept the PCB decisions as the board had produced on evidence to support the ban on his client.
"We will shortly be filing a petition in the High court although the PCB quietly amended a clause in their anti- corruption code which says we can now only take our case to the international court of arbitration for sports in Switzerland," Ejaz said.
"While the tribunal announced its decision on 30 August, 2017, the changes were made in Article 7 of the Code on 28 July, 2017 which says that spot-fixing convicts aren't allowed to file a writ against the decision before any Pakistani court and only before the CAS in Switzerland."
Ejaz said Sharjeel was not in a position to afford the heavy expenses involved in filing the appeal with the CAS and would seek justice from Pakistani courts.
The lawyer claimed neither the tribunal nor the lawyers were informed about the change in the clause by the PCB which showed malafide intention from them.
Sharjeel also insisted that the head of the PCB's anti- corruption unit, Colonel Azam Khan had forced him to confess to the crime to face less punishment.
"He told me either I do it or forget about playing cricket again.