The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Betting syndicate may have been involved
- Speculation rife whether Karachi blast was linked to SA visit

New Delhi: With the South Africans just days away from landing in Pakistan, speculation is rife whether last week’s bomb blast in Karachi was a ploy by the betting racket to scare away the tourists as the odds did not favour them.

There are talks in Pakistan whether the notorious cricket mafia was indirectly responsible for the blast at the Kawish Plaza, allegedly owned by Mumbai don Dawood Ibrahim, on September 19 which led the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) to announce its cancellation of the tour, Pakistan weekly Friday Times reported.

There was huge betting in Pakistan on whether South Africa would tour the country or not. Bets were also placed on whether any match would be played in Karachi and Peshawar at all, the weekly quoted a source of the Karachi stock exchange as saying.

Pakistani intelligence agencies are currently investigating the possibility of the involvement of the underworld in the bomb explosion at the Plaza, which was the centre of similar explosions earlier.

Media reports in the past said the building was owned by Dawood, but Pakistan consistently denied his presence. The blast has not caused any injuries but led to a major scare for PCB as South Africa cancelled the tour before agreeing to a revised schedule.

The cancellation threat followed after UCBSA earlier expressed its reservations to play in Karachi and Peshawar, but later agreed after its security experts cleared both the places.

The mafia smelt a whiff of millions and went about conducting a massive betting whether South Africans would play in Karachi and Peshawar. As the odds favoured yes, the blast followed.

The betting went up as the UCBSA initially agreed to tour but came down after the blast and UCBSA’s subsequent decision not to send the team.

No pressure, says Latif

Two days after resigning as Pakistan captain, Rashid Latif said the decision was not due to any pressure from cricketing authorities but because he was “unhappy with a few things.”

“There is a lot of talk that the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Tauqir Zia pressurised me to resign as captain and leave cricket when I met him on Wednesday.

“I’d like to clarify the decision to resign was my own. I had decided before the meeting I didn’t want to continue,” Latif told The News on Friday. “It is true I was not satisfied with some cricketing matters in the team. But Zia didn’t tell me I had to resign or quit cricket.”

The 34-year-old said he was feeling the pressure of being captain and decided it was best to step down. “I was also unhappy with a few things. I decided it’s best to hand over the job to someone else.”

Inzamam-ul Haq said in Karachi there was nothing sinister behind Latif’s resignation. “I assure everyone there was no controversy behind the resignation.” (Agencies)

Email This Page