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Case against Shoaib and PCB officials

Lahore: A court case was filed on Monday against Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and two top cricketing officials for attending a fashion show on the night of Muslim festival, a court official said.

The civil case accused Shoaib, Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Rameez Raja and chief selector Aamer Sohail of hurting the feelings of Muslims by attending the show on Saturday, the official said.

“A private citizen Muzamal Hassan Shah has filed a case of damages of 25,000 rupees ($433) against (the three) for hurting religious sentiments by attending a fashion show on Shab-e-Barat,” he said.

The night is a festival for Muslims to offer prayers.

Photographs and reports of the three’s attendance at the show in the capital Islamabad until late Saturday was splashed across Pakistan’s media on Monday. Newspaper reports cited the cat walk show as a reason for the late start of the next day’s fifth one-day game against South Africa in the nearby garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Pakistan lost the match by seven wickets to surrender the series 3-2 from a 2-0 advantage. The court is likely to appoint a judge to hear the case on Tuesday and may summon Shoaib and the others for a hearing, said the official, who did not want to be identified.

Pakistan team manager Haroon Rasheed, however, played down the issue. “Even if the players had gone for a show, they came back within an hour and this is wrong to say that they came late,” said Rasheed.

Shoaib, famous for his pace as well as his off-field showmanship, is contesting another court case, also launched by a private citizen, after an interview in the British newspaper Guardian in June in which he is alleged to have hurt the national pride.

Shoaib, 27, known as “Rawalpindi Express” for his extraordinary speed, reportedly told the paper that teammates Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis “are in decline.” “They were great but they’re not match-winning bowlers any more. So I have to make it all happen on my own,” he reportedly said.

Shoaib denied saying anything wrong in the interview and said private citizens sought publicity through such cases against famous players.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Inzamam-ul Haq denied reports that Shoaib as well as another player, Shoaib Malik, were partying till late at night. “Both players were in the team hotel and if any such thing is proved, strict action will be taken,” he said. (AFP)

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