Wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider Disappears: The Absurd Becomes Bizarre

Posted on November 8, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Sports
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Adil Najam

The absurdity that is the off- and on-field shenanigans of the Pakistan cricketers just moved up a notch and became outright bizarre. Maybe even more.

Wicketkeeper Zulqarnain, who had been so pivotal in winning the fourth one-day against South Africa last week, seemingly disappeared before the final game today; he then appeared equally mysteriously in England; and now there is a message on what is supposed to be his Facebook page saying that he is “leaving pakistan cricket because get bad msg fr 1 man fr lose the match in last game.”

I have no idea what to make of this. Is this for real? Is this a hoax? Is this another facebook scam? Or is this another cruel joke being played by fate on cricket lovers in Pakistan. Whatever it is, it is now all over the internet and a cause of deepening despair amongst Pakistani cricket fans. Deeper now that we lost of the fifth and final one-day game, and therefore also the series after having performed so valiantly in the last games.

Here are the details as reported in The Express Tribune. It is clear that no one yet knows what the story is. But it is quite clear that – true or not – it is not a pretty story.

DUBAI: Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has arrived in England after mysteriously disappearing hours before the fifth and final one-day international against South Africa in Dubai. Television pictures clearly showed Zulqarnain arriving at Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon.

Earlier, Director Media Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Nadeem Sarwar confirmed that Haider was missing, while team manager Intikhab Alam said that he cannot comment on this situation as yet. Sarwar also said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Dubai Police had been informed about the situation.
Haider left a message on his Facebook page saying that he is leaving the cricket team because he was told to lose the match by a man.

His brother Reza told Reuters from Lahore that Zulqarnain had expressed fears after receiving threatening messages. “The last time I spoke to him he told me he was getting threatening messages after the fourth match and to pray for him,” said Reza before adding his family was in touch with Zulqarnain and concerned about his safety. “We would like to know a lot of things like why did the PCB management give him his passport, were they aware of the threats he had got?”, Reza said.

The PCB said Zulqarnain had asked Pakistan officials for his passport. “Zulqarnain was in possession of his passport at the time he left the hotel, which he had taken from the team management the previous evening for personal use,” said the board. PCB legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi told Reuters that Zulqarnain had breached his central contract. “He will definitely face an inquiry and disciplinary action whenever he contacts us. But we are concerned about this whole situation,” said Rizvi.

Lahore police official Rana Faisal said they were investigating Zulqarnain’s disappearance. “We have received no official complaint but taking note of the media reports we have sent some officers to his house (in Lahore) to find out details,” Faisal said.

Haider was also fined 500 dirhams on Sunday after he broke curfew hours imposed by the team management. Meanwhile, Umar Akmal has started preparations to replace Haider as wicketkeeper for today’s match, while Muhammad Yousuf and Shahzeb has also been included in the team.

25 Comments on “Wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider Disappears: The Absurd Becomes Bizarre”

  1. Rafique says:
    November 8th, 2010 6:07 pm

    Yaar, hadd hoti hai. Yeh cricketer bhai tou hadd say he guzar gayee hain!

  2. Beena says:
    November 8th, 2010 6:28 pm

    There is something sinister. I think the bookies must be threatening him

  3. Naan Haleem says:
    November 8th, 2010 7:04 pm

    I dont know why but it reminds me of December 10, 2000 when Sharif family was hurriedly exported to Saudi Arabia.

  4. MB says:
    November 8th, 2010 9:26 pm

    All this sounds a huge comedy of errors.

    Why did he go to UK? Why not back to Pakistan? Why not take shelter in Pakistan High commission in UAE if there was such a threat to his life? His facebook page seems fishy – created recently and hist first post claims about Micky Arthur match-fixing claims.

    And equally surprising is the fact that PCB/ICC is silent about it. I am really wondering how can a 24 year old behave in such a childish manner….he has to be a big nincompoop.

  5. SM says:
    November 9th, 2010 12:02 am

    This was the least place I was expecting to find this post. As this news is full of “Media Masala”, so does is captured by ATP. Rather then talking on big issues, like Gold and copper mines issue etc. we are spending valuable energy in reading and commenting on one person’s personal act. Shame on us

  6. Wadood says:
    November 9th, 2010 1:26 am

    Odd and disturbing. But also an example of the state of confusion that everything in Pakistan is in these days.

  7. Pakistani says:
    November 9th, 2010 2:20 am

    I suppose most of the visitors to this blog are expatriates and are sincerely concerned about what is happening in their beloved homeland
    Things in Pakistan are at its worst,nobody could think of what is happening here. Just a jungle law, decoits ruling the country, their accomplises(oppostion) waiting in the wings for their turn.
    Cricket has never been spared by these greedy lords,they were invovled in match fixing in the past and even now they all in for making billions through this most populat sport of South Asia.
    Zulqarnain Haider was found the easiest target to warn other players so that they play as Master Gambler wants them to play.
    Real shamful and disgusting.
    Pray for the country ,dear countrymen

  8. Capri5315 says:
    November 9th, 2010 4:14 am

    Here comes an asylum claim!!!

  9. Naan Haleem says:
    November 9th, 2010 4:49 am

    I wonder if this has something to do with Akmal brothers.

    “Survival of the fittest” forced even Aurangzeb Alamgir (propagated as pious) to kill all his brothers and house arrest his father, the king. Zia hung Bhutto, Musharraf toppled Sharif and later imposed emergency on Nov 3 for the same reason.

    Whenever ZH performed exceptional he was depreciated by team and management. I wont be surprised if it happened within the knowledge, if not consent, of PCB.

  10. Talat says:
    November 9th, 2010 4:53 am

    This is so very absurd indeed.
    I really do not follow cricket but I think like always cricket and cricketers have become the barometer of everything in society.

  11. Ashar says:
    November 9th, 2010 12:13 pm

    I think Zulqarnain after having spent time in UK realised that he could get a fine life there. He knows he is not going to survive in Pak cricket for the long run. So he thought a well conceived plan apparantly with the connivance of his family. As far the threats are concerned it is just a bullshit argument.

    His whole act is suspicious and immediately after arriving in UK he claimed assylum. He thought it an easy way to get the British nationality in the guise of threats. And now he wants his wife and kids to come to UK. Tomorrow, he will also play more tricks to invite his brothers and family members.

    It is a very old trick used by many Pakistanis during the last many years. But I doubt this will work this time as UK authorities have become very strict to judge the fraud cases.

    However, it shows only one thing. Zulqarnain Haider belongs to a lower middle class family whose ultimate aim is to get a foreign nationality, if not success in cricket.

  12. Almakky says:
    November 9th, 2010 12:22 pm

    re: Just a jungle law

    @ Pakistani: Bhai Jungle mai bhee eik kanoon hota hai.

    The law of the jungle by Zehra Nigah

    I have heard
    There is a law of the jungle

    I have heard when the lion has eaten his fill
    He never attacks
    He goes to lie under dense shady trees
    And when the rough gusts
    Shake branches of trees
    The maynah leaving her own young
    Covers the frail crow’s eggs
    With her protective wings

    I have heard
    When any bird-young falls out of the nest
    The entire jungle wakes to rescue

    I have heard
    When the weaver bird’s nest
    Reflects on the lake
    The silvery fishes adopt it as neighbour
    And if a rough storm breaks the foot-bridge
    Then on a wooden plank
    Squirrel, snake, goat and cheetah walk in a file

    I have heard
    There is a law of the jungle

    O God, All Powerful, All Seeing, All Wise,
    In this city of mine
    Proclaim a law, even
    The law of the jungle

  13. A' says:
    November 9th, 2010 1:30 pm

    @NH: Yeah I also thought same when heard in news that another Akmal brother joined the team to replace Zulqarnain. ZH’s wife admitted about life threats from unknown person.

  14. Faraz says:
    November 9th, 2010 4:39 pm

    The asylum petition makes me suspicious. Could this be a hoax?

  15. T.S. Bokhari says:
    November 9th, 2010 8:21 pm

    I have only one word for all this drama ‘DISGUSTING’!

  16. Bangash says:
    November 9th, 2010 10:08 pm

    Please ICC, please ban Pakistan cricket for 12 months and provide some relief to its long-suffering fans.

  17. Hermoon Gill says:
    November 9th, 2010 10:21 pm

    Pakistan cricket has become the world’s laughing stock.They never cease to be clowns and fodders for the media.It all started when Inzimam decided to walk out of the test and forfet the test match to England.Thus began Pakistan cricket’s circus of comedy.
    ZH has set the trend of how to seek residence in England by claiming to be threatened by match fixers.I fear low level first class cricketers will join the queue.
    Pakistani ambassador Wajid Shamsul Hassan is working overtime meeting one Pakistani cricketer after another.

  18. November 9th, 2010 11:28 pm

    Perhaps, Zulqarnain was reached by Bookies and he denied their offer due to his patriotism with Pakistan. He was then threatened by bookies, and PCB was not providing him support and confidence. I also noticed Zulqarnain playing in 4th One day, he was looking quite and no players were talking to him freely. I think Zulqarnain was ignored by the team members. If the above is true then I must say that cricket and PCB should be banned by ICC for at least one year. So that they can learn something.

  19. Ahmed says:
    November 10th, 2010 12:09 am

    I am really sorry that I can’t get too worked up about this. Cricket is no longer sacrosanct as it once was when I was growing up. Having lived in the West for too long, I view sportsmen as merely entertainers. Not unlike movie stars, or comedians. Some entertain by playing well and winning. Others by their comical antics and intrigue – much like our very own cricket team. But, the end result is all good! The fans are entertained either way. So, grab some beer, lean back, and take in the fun.


  20. Cricketer says:
    November 11th, 2010 1:19 am

    Let me point out here that a player who had the courage and calmnness to play two remarkable innings for Pakistan will not act irrationally. A brief analysis will open our minds to some facts.
    ZH was sent home after remarkable test performance from England?????
    This time he refused to be sidelined, hence the resort to such bully tactics.
    Who could harrass him? Well THE MANAGEMENT. When this did not work the ‘FRIENDS’ of the Management were asked to do the job.
    Who are the FRIENDS? The BOOKIES.
    Who benefits? Akmal clan.
    Could they be ADVANCEMEN for the Bookies?
    Your guess is as good as mine.Now where does PCB APPEAR.Sadly nowhere.Does that mean BOOKIES are running cricket in Pakistan? Again your guess is as good as mine.
    So God help us.

  21. Cricketer says:
    November 11th, 2010 3:07 am
  22. cricket says:
    November 11th, 2010 6:27 am

    Zulqarnain Haider is a good player and my best wishes for Zulqarnain Haider

  23. Nafees says:
    November 13th, 2010 9:12 am

    This drama is such a good representation of what is happening in Pakistan. The guy is not a hero or a villian, just a manifestation of all of us.

  24. Nadeem says:
    November 13th, 2010 9:13 am

    Zulqarnain’s was just a cheap asylum trick.
    I hope the UK does not give her asylum and Pakistan kicks him out of the team.
    That is what he deserves.

  25. Zaheer says:
    November 14th, 2010 12:11 am

    I think this man is mentally unstable and needs medical help. There is no other explanation for this behavior.

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