| GEO Sports|
LHC adjourns 'spot-fixing' treason hearing
| Updated at: 1815 PST, Tuesday, September 07, 2010|
LAHORE: Lahore High Court Tuesday adjourned a hearing into treason allegations against seven national cricket players, the sports minister and cricket chief, over a 'spot-fixing' scandal, lawyers said.
Chief justice of LHC Khawaja Mohammad Sharif adjourned the hearing until September 22 after a sports ministry official said the case was premature while investigations were ongoing.
The cricketers are alleged to have been paid to bowl no-balls at pre-determined times in the fourth Test against England, which Pakistan lost by an innings on August 29.
Local lawyer Ishtiaq Ahmed filed the treason case last week, calling for life bans and confiscation of all the players' assets if they are found guilty.
"The sports ministry official Saeed Ahmed informed the court in a written statement that investigations into the fixing scandal were in progress and it was premature to say that they were involved in corruption," the petitioning lawyer said.
He said he had been asked by the court to respond to the ministry official's statement in writing.
Usually in Pakistan, court procedures are long and decisions takes years. A legal expert said that if the accused failed to appear three times in a row a ruling could be made in their absence.
The seven players at the centre of the scandal are Test team captain Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and three unnamed players, who are all accused in the sting by British Sunday tabloid the News of the World.
Butt and bowlers Aamer and Asif have been suspended from the international game pending inquiries.
Sports minister Ijaz Jakharani and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt are also named in the treason case.