Mohammad Amir an “Impure” in the “Land of Pure”

March 21, 2016 | By

The actual idea of creation of Pakistan to save the Muslims of South East Asia from complete political and cultural annihilation was first proposed by Choudhary Rehmat Ali-a Cambridge graduate back in January 1933.  Pakistan is a portmanteau formed by the acronym for the regions of Punjab, (Afghan-inhabited frontier regions, Kashmir and Sindh, along with the Persian suffix “Stan”) – it is worth noting that the original Sanskrit word is the cognate “-tun”; however, it later transformed into “-stan” in Persian; both words are used as a suffix for a place. (E.g. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Balochistan refer to the place of Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Afghans and the Balochs, respectively).
The broader meanings of the word “Pakistan” which translate as “Land Of The Spiritually Pure and Clean” may however better help us understanding some of the self-inflicted beliefs or misbeliefs that have entrenched our society deeply since the creation of this much-needed land.


Mohammad Amir is an exceptional and rare talent but pleaded to guilty for his part in spot-fixing scam during the ill-fated 2010 Test series in England. Amir served three months from a six-month jail term in England along with a ban from cricket for five years; he subsequently returned to domestic action in September 15. Since his return to competitive cricket, Amir has silenced many of his critics by virtue of his prodigious performances in domestic circle and in more competitive Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). This also coincides with the lacklustre Pakistan line-up, which suffers from the rare lack of quality fast bowlers since the ban on the duo of Amir and Mohammad Asif.

Whilst Amir may have been emboldened by the support provided by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and some ex-cricketers including the senior coach Waqar Younis, he also faces opposition from current senior members of the team, such as Mohammad Hafeez and ODI captain Azhar Ali. With all the good will in the world, it may be difficult to understand the true reasons for such resistance; purists may argue that the prison and punishment may not absolve him from the demons of his unbecoming conduct at Lords. There is also a growing argument that if Amir is allowed back in the team, similar relaxation should be offered to  others like Asif and Salman Butt, as we believe in “equal opportunities” as a nation!
Let’s dissect a few key issues on this whole saga, which has again become a bigger political and national than much more simmering issues of health, poverty, VIP culture and electricity or rather lack of it, in the “Land of The Pure”.

1) Can Amir, Asif and Butt be weighted on the same scale? There are two fundamental elements to this question, legal and emotional. From legal viewpoint all three completed their stipulated retribution and can be considered for selection in national squads. There is however an emotional impediment to this notion- most Pakistanis have played galli (street) cricket and they feel that they have gained the divine right to denounce the three individuals who brought their country to disrepute and betrayed them and their motherland. Indeed the three of them should be proscribed from playing further cricket to satisfy the emotions of Bollywood-inspired nation. By the way, the divine incitement and influence of Hindi movies is also some reflection of hypocrisy in our society- although it’s a separate discussion for another day. However, reverting back to the original subject, Asif’s previous repertoire of fighting with team mates, being caught with banned substances overseas, using performance-enhancing drugs and his alleged fraudulent dealing with his film-star ex-girl friend, clearly overshadow his McGrath-like skills. Indeed he can be easily considered as an “Impure” in the “Land of Pure”.  Butt’s case, who’s the least talented but most privileged compared to the other two, presents a curious case as he not only continued defying the reality on local TV shows but also attributed his fall to mongering controversies against him and the “land of the Pure” and indeed I hope I have convinced you that he can also be considered as “Impure”.  Amir however belongs to an impoverished background and rose to the fame at a tender age of 18, thus he deserves Einfühlung  (empathy) as he needs to be given benefit of doubt for perhaps following orders of his then-captain and senior bowling partner in crime. Applying the null hypothesis, I find it difficult to prove that “Amir is not pure”!
2) Should we offer “equal opportunity” policy to Amir, Asif and Butt? Discrimination and persecution in any form or shape should be condemned but we have taken a simplistic view of this equation that is contrary to both Islamic and western values. Whilst many of us remain silent on issues of substance, we find most astounding reasons to complicate matters! Based on the reasons discussed above coupled with the fact that professional sportsmen need to be respected not just for their character but their performance, Asif and Butt can’t be compared with Amir by any stretch of imagination; whilst the former may prove his form an fitness again by virtue of his prodigious cricketing skills, the later is unlikely to find his place again in the team as a Batsman which has matured significantly during the Misbah-era with the likes of Azhar Ali, Ahmad Shehzad and Asad Shafiq etc.

3) Should cancellation of a doctor’s license or that of a lawyer on misconduct be compared to that of a ban offered to a sportsman? This is a matter of debate; however, one can only refer to the current law of the game and if they find themselves in conflict with the current law, then their issue it with the law but not the sportsmen in question. Its very much like saying that all the doctors and professionals should be tested for banned substances and their license should be cancelled if found to have objectionable substance in their blood or urine- clearly logic will not prevail here or would it? A sub-question that stems from a similar origin stipulates that the already convicted players should also be trialed in Pakistani courts- although there can be some rollicking and other momentous dimensions of this preposition, the simple answer to this question is “No”. These players perhaps belong to a rare prerogative group who were at least once sentenced appropriately for their misconduct compared to many others who were never charged for far more heinous crimes in the “Land of the Pure”.

4) Has PCB dealt with Amir-saga appropriately? There is no hiding of the fact that PCB in general has failed to peddle any challenging situations in a befitting manner- in fact they are habitual of turning an ordinary situation into a complex phenomenon; a fair assessment of the trio’s re-induction into the national and international arena in a step-wise fashion is however, a relatively scrupulous conduct of PCB, for which they deserve a rare applause. Amir was already introduced in the national circuit and he moved up the scale pertaining to his exceptional cricketing skills- his return was ably supported by ICC and backed up by PCB. Ex-cricketers and analysts who are wrangling about Amir’s return and somehow linking it to PCB alone should reevaluate their thought process.

So in summary, Mohammad Amir is going to be back in greens and nobody can abrogate his progress except for another act of mischievousness or an inadvertent injury – the former would be attributed to choice rather than a mistake on this occasion and the later an ill-fate. Amir deserves to represent the “Land of the Pure” akin to anyone who considers himself “pure” and worthy of representing their nation. PCB recently hinted upon forgiveness in Islam and indeed its one of the sumptuous virtues of Islam, which we have quasi-forgotten in the “Land of the Pure”.


I wrote this article around Christmas time last year when there was still incertitude about Amir’s inclusion in Pakistani colors. There is already a strong belief that Amir is perhaps the best thing that happened to Pakistani cricket since the great Akram. Pakistan cricket however continues to be suffering by virtue of perseverance of false beliefs, wrong attitudes and lack of infrastructure. The great Imran Khan has been saying for last thirty years that Pakistan’s infrastructure in all fields specially cricket requires serious re-thinking. Let’s hope that one day we shall see that happening. In the meanwhile I forsee many forthcoming achievements by Amir and Pakistan especially in Tests where batsmen will have no rescue after Amir finishes his alloted quota. The best is indeed yet to come-pending injuries or mismanagement!

Khurram Hayat Khan

Khurram Hayat Khan is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous articles published at

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