Pakistan lashed out at the International Cricket Council on Friday for suspending three of its players facing 'spot-fixing' charges and sought to insinuate that its president, Sharad Pawar, had a hand in the decision.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, threatened to sue the ICC for its unethical decision to suspend the players and said it is trying to make Pakistan a "scapegoat" for its inefficiency.
"The three players met me requested me to ask the Pakistan Cricket Board not to consider them for the rest of the series because they wanted to clear their name and honour. Accordingly, I conveyed their request to PCB chief Ijaz Butt, who accepted it. But all of a sudden the ICC came out with the notice," he said.
He was particularly critical of ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and president Sharad Pawar, saying he sensed a "conspiracy" behind the suspensions.
"When Lorgat came to me I told him that the players themselves had opted out and how ECB chairman Giles Clarke was happy with their decision.
"I heard him (Lorgat) talking to Pawar. I don't know what transpired between them, but immediately after that he left my office and prepared a five-page notice and handed it to the players. There seems to be a conspiracy to keep Pakistan out," Hasan said.
"He (Lorgat) should have that courage to tell me that he was serving notices to the players.
"That shows how inefficient the ICC is. They did not hold any inquiry, do independent investigation. ICC is trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat because it is not able to run cricket efficiently," he said in a scathing attack on the world body.
Stating that the International Cricket Council has no authority to punish the players without conducting an independent inquiry, Hasan said, if required, Pakistan will take legal action against the game's supreme body.
"Pending an inquiry they (ICC) cannot take any action. Till the investigations of London's metropolitan police and the Scotland Yard are over, neither PCB not ICC can take any action against the players," he said.
"We have got the legal option open and we are looking into it," Hasan added.
Hasan's angry reaction came after ICC had charged Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir of corruption offences and provisionally suspended the trio from all forms of the game pending a final decision on the charges.
"To take action now is unhelpful, premature and unnecessary considering the players had already voluntarily withdrawn from playing," he said.
Hasan, who met with the players for three hours in London on Thursday, reiterated the trio are innocent and Indian bookmakers were involved in the whole murky episode.
"I found that all these three players were absolutely innocent. They were not involved, they have been taken for a ride and the agent (Mazhar Majeed) was the culprit, in the sense that he was responsible for defrauding some Asian bookies," Hassan said.
"The British press says Asian but if they were from Pakistan they (British media) would have called Pakistanis, which means some Indian bookies were involved in it. This Majeed allegedly defrauded these Indian bookies and so the newspaper investigated this sort of sting operation through their sources here," he said.
The suspensions came after a British tabloid alleged that that Amir and Asif deliberately bowled no-balls at predetermined points during last week's Lord's Test against England.
Incidentally, succumbing to all-round pressure, Pakistan had on Thursday dropped the tainted trio from the ODI series against England but strongly defended them and vowed full support.
Hassan had also raised serious doubts on the authenticity of the News of the World's expose, saying, "What is the reputation of those people who have brought us this story?"