In Pakistan we take the “once a criminal always a criminal” refrain very seriously. A cricket commentator has filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking a lifetime ban on Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir, all of whom have been convicted for spot fixing. This petition is unfair to the cricketers who have received their share of punishment and that too a hefty one. The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Butt, Asif and Aamir for five to 10 years.

The petitioner claimed that PCB officials have never taken action against the convicted players, but is it not enough that Salman Butt served jail sentence in the UK for almost a year and is serving a 10-year ban, five years of which is a suspended sentence. If the ICC lifted the bans of on the players (on September 2, 2015) then should the PCB should support that decision and allow them to participate according to its policy of rehabilitation?

This is not the first time in the history of cricket that players have been charged or found guilty of match fixing. Such scandals have followed a great many players like Mohammed Azharuddin, Lou Vincent and Sreesanth. The only difference between the infamous trio and the others is that they were caught red handed. And while the whole country would agree what they did was beyond shameful and a regrettable incident, they paid for their mistake and owned up to it. Allowing the petition to ban them would be over kill and double jeopardy. They are fulfilling their rehabilitative duties and that must be appreciated. Every criminal must have a chance for retribution otherwise the point of punishment is lost altogether.