It didn’t take long for the menace of spot fixing in cricket, so determinedly banished, to return to Pakistan. On the second day of Pakistan Super League (PSL), two Islamabad United players – Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan – were suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and sent home, while a few others were questioned.

The resulting furore has thrown up quite polar positions, with people lauding the strong action by the PCB while other questioning the trimming and the handling of the crisis. The scandal has also unearthed the buried questions over the return of the banned trio – Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Asif, and Salman Butt – and the quick assimilation of the former into the national team. This has the potential to turn very ugly, and the PCB has to play its cards right if it wants the continued success of the PSL.

The way the suspension was announced may be criticised, but the action of suspending the duo certainly cannot. Under no circumstances can corruption of any kind be tolerated, especially after Pakistan having gone through an embarrassing public ordeal in the past. The PCB was right to take prompt action, even if it meant drawing attention from the tournament. It should thoroughly investigate the players and take further action if any are found guilty.

While that is the normal course of action, proceedings are complicated by the case of Amir. Former players and officials have publicly criticised the PCB for allowing him to return, saying that it will set a bad example – commit spot fixing, serve some time, and still be forgiven by the PCB and the public at large. Now, they argue, any future anti-corruption drive is compromised by a confused stance on the issue.

While they might have a point, such retrospective argumentation is useless. The Amir decision has been made, and considering his age and special circumstances it was a reasonable one. The question right now is how to deal with the present one. The first order of business is to sprinkle oil on troubled waters; sooth tempers, take the investigation off air for a bit, and let the attention return to the sport. The PSL is still nascent, and needs to be fostered.

But behind the scenes, the action must not stop. Amir’s return was accompanied by extensive anti-corruption training for the whole squad and strong statements assuring any future breaches will not be dealt with lightly. There is a time for clemency and a time for exemplary precedents – now might be the time for the latter.