Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf urged the cricket authorities to show compassion to Mohammad Aamer, who has been charged under the sport’s anti-corruption code in an alleged betting scam.
Musharraf said anyone involved should be punished, but said cricket would be the loser if it ended the career of 18-year-old starlet Aamer.
Pakistan Test team captain Salman Butt and bowlers Aamer and Mohammad Asif have been interrogated by British police over claims that they took money to deliberately bowl no-balls against England at Lord’s last month.
The International Cricket Council has provisionally suspended the trio and charged them over the spot-fixing allegations.
“It’s terrible. Anyone who has done this must be punished. They don’t deserve any sympathy,” Musharraf told BBC radio in London on Friday.
“Having said that, Aamer, this youngster, 18 years old, he is a misled boy. It’s terrible. He deserves the punishment.
“But I know he comes from a poor family. The family was entirely looking forward to him with all the future available to him.
“Let’s not let this family down. Let him do well and look after that family.”
During the ill-fated tour of England, left-arm quick Aamer became the youngest player to take 50 Test wickets.
“Cricket will be the loser. At 18, look at what he’s done. Let’s not lose him, let him serve cricket,” Musharraf said.
“Our thinking should be to reform an individual and not to give him a punitive punishment and destroy him. Here is a case where we may be able to reform him. That should be our aim and save cricket at the same time.
“Make him feel he has done wrong and save a poor family.
“We must find answers to the issue of corruption. I’m talking of one individual only.
“I would request from my side to anyone who’s trying him: compassion. He deserved it, fully.”