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Zulqarnain Haider returns to Pakistan

Cricketer Zulqarnain Haider pictured at Benazir International Airport in Islamabad.
Cricketer Zulqarnain Haider pictured at Benazir International Airport in Islamabad.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Zulqarnain Haider has returned to Pakistan after living in exile in Britain since November 2010
  • The cricketer claims he fled his team's base in Dubai after refusing to fix a match
  • Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik assured Haider of his safety back in his homeland
  • Haider said he was happy to be given full security on his return
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(CNN) -- Cricketer Zulqarnain Haider has ended his exile in Britain and returned to Pakistan after leaving his team during a series in which he claims he refused to fix a match.

The wicket-keeper was pictured at Benazir International Airport in Islamabad by AFP on Monday after flying in from London, his base since November.

He was also pictured with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who AFP said had assured Haider he would be safe to return to his homeland.

Haider fled from the team's base in Dubai prior to a one day international match with South Africa, telling CNN when he arrived in London that he feared reprisals over his decision.

Upon his return to Pakistan he was quoted by AFP as saying: "I am happy to return. There were solid reasons behind my going to London and I am sure everyone realized that no one can put his career at stake for nothing.

"I am happy the way I was given full security. I want to spend some time with my family and then meet PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) chairman (Ijaz Butt) which I will share with you."

AFP also quoted Malik as saying: "Haider will be given full security as promised. He is a citizen of Pakistan so there is no restriction on his movement. He has told us some facts which at this point of time we cannot share with the media."

The Pakistan Cricket Board ripped up Haider's contract after he left the team's camp in the United Arab Emirates with the player applying for political asylum in the UK.

He granted CNN an exclusive interview when he arrived in London, saying: "I listened to people in Pakistan who talked about the match fixing [problem], they said that a lot of people are involved and I felt threatened ... and very disappointed.

"I know I can't believe anyone. If you got threatened then you would then not believe people either. If I told anyone, they may have contact with these people [involved in match-fixing], so this could cause a problem for my family in Pakistan and also me in Dubai."

Pakistan cricket has been dogged by allegations of corruption and three of Haider's former teammates, Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, were banned after the International Cricket Council found them guilty of "spot-fixing."