In a dramatic turn of events, Pakistan cricket authorities have banned five female cricketers for allegedly falsely accusing their male officials of sexual harassment. The initial complaint was made in June by five cricketers from the central Multan region. The ladies reported that their club chairman and a team selector of demanded sexual favors in return for their selection to the regional and national teams. The charges were actually initially made on a television show, but Sultan Alam, chairman of Multan Cricket Club, and his selector Mohammad Javed, denied the allegations. Seema Javed, a prominent club cricketer, even alleged that the seventy-year-old Alam once came to her and asked her to convince another girl to give him favors. But once the pressure was turned up, their voices were silenced.
The Multan region Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set up an inquiry to look into the allegations. The PCB subsequently ruled that the five players should be banned for six months and censured. The findings stated in a release, â€œThe inquiry committee set up to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment by five women cricketers against the management of Multan Cricket Club has recommended that all five should be banned from playing any form of cricket for six months with effect from October 23, 2013.â€ Per the same release, when questioned by the committee, three of the five women, including Javed, â€œcategorically denied having been sexually harassed or having seen such harassment taking place,â€ while the other two women declined to present their case at the inquiry. The Multan District Cricket Association, which overseas cricket in the region, has also been censured and asked to keep a close watch on Multan Cricket Club and ensure that all clubs registered with them follow the regulations and disciplinary procedures of PCB, the release said. But in reality, one must question the causality of five women making claims followed by their categorical denial of the claims. Pressure had to have been applied.
Ayesha Ashaar, the convener of the probe committee and manager of Pakistan womenâ€™s cricket, said that even after they have served the ban, â€œall five girls will be kept under probation for a period of one year after which the evaluation of their conduct will be made.â€ All three who were questioned were serving one penalty or ban for various offences and that was the focus of their complaint, the release added. The national women cricket team is governed by the PCB, which adjudicates all affairs relating to the game and players in the country. Perhaps the PCB is in need of an inquiry. Because if whistleblowers must be in fear of reprisal, then the system simply will not work.