Tainted Asif Might Take Political Asylum in Britain
London, Sep 9 (TOI): Fearing a violent backlash in Pakistan for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, pacer Mohammad Asif is considering taking political asylum in Britain.
According to a report in 'The Daily Telegraph', Asif, who is currently in England for investigations into the scam exposed by a British tabloid, had a 35-minute meeting with an immigration lawyer last Friday.
"(Asif) said he feared the allegations of fixing certain events in a recent Test match against England could make him the target of dangerous criminal gangs linked to the illegal betting underworld," the newspaper reported.
The cricketer reportedly asked the lawyer "if there was a way to stay in Britain and discussed the asylum process."
"He didn't say anything about asylum at first," said the lawyer.
"He just said, 'What's the way to stay?' Then we told him there's the student way - you can come here to study - or you can apply for a work permit. But then he asked about asylum," he added.
Asif, along with Pakistan Test skipper Salman Butt and teen pacer Mohammad Aamer, has been interrogated by the Scotland Yard after it was alleged that the trio conspired to bowl no balls in the Lord's Test against England after taking bribes from a bookie.
The latest report said that Asif is waiting for "the results of investigations by Scotland Yard and the International Cricket Council, to which he expressed his innocence, before taking any asylum claim further."
Immigration experts said Asif had a good chance of getting asylum if he can prove a considerable threat to his life.
The lawyer, with whom Asif spoke, said the bowler looked "very anxious".
"I think he's just worried about the backlash at home, that's what he told me," he said.
"There's been a lot of talk and there are undercover betting mafias with a lot of power - that seemed to be what he was worried about.
"If he wants to go forward then we will see what we can do for him," he added.
Tainted Asif might take political asylum in Britain.