Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam recently responded to the allegations of sexual harassment last week, saying, “It is my personal issue and it is in court and my lawyer is handling it. We face all sorts of hurdles in life and I am used to it. This issue has not affected my form or cricket.” Speaking at a virtual press conference, he added that his personal issues will not affect his cricket during his forthcoming tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe. The ace sportsman was accused by a girl named Hamiza Mukhtar, weeks ahead of the Pakistan team’s New Zealand tour last year.
In latest news, a Lahore High Court has suspended last week’s order by a sessions court that had instructed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to file a case against Azam on grounds of assault and blackmail, reported ESPN.
Haris Azmat, Azam’s counsel, maintained that the previous judgment had been passed without the court hearing Azam’s side of the story. He instantly obtained a stay order in the case. Now, Azam, Mukhtar and the FIA have been given two weeks to submit a response.
When Mukhtar initially came forward with her experience of sexual harassment, she held a press conference in which she disclosed that Azam had exploited her in more ways than one. While she had approached the court at the time, she was immediately directed to the police, who were asked to register a case and run an investigation against Azam within the rules of the law. A few months later, Mukhtar revealed that she had been getting prank calls from random numbers. Upon enquiry, one of the numbers was found to be in Azam’s name. The owner of the SIM card was identified as Muhammad Babar. Soon after, the cricketer was asked to appear before the court but when he failed to do so, the FIA released a statement saying, “This shows guilty from his part.”