One of the key backers of Fawad Ahmed’s refugee claim has denied that the reason Cricket Australia helped Ahmed out was because they were trying to find the next Shane Warne. He also stated that Ahmed’s life could have been put in danger if he had returned to Pakistan.
Ahmed did not want to talk about the report on ABC. Derek Bennett is the president of the Cricket Club at Melbourne University. Ahmed is not represented by Bennett. However, Bennett did help Ahmed apply to the Chris Bowen, who was the immigration minister at the time. Ahmed’s initial application was rejected.
Ahmed was playing club cricket in Melbourne during the time that he sent his application to the minister. Bennett stated that Ahmed was not on the radar as a possible player for Australia. He also stated that the reason Cricket Australia helped Ahmed out was because they wanted to help a person out who had been persecuted for playing cricket. Additionally, Bennett reiterated that Cricket Australia did not help Ahmed because they were looking for another Shane Barne.
Cricket Australia understood that Ahmed could have never played cricket again if he returned to Pakistan. He could have also been killed if he would have returned to Australia. James Sutherland, who was one of the people helping Ahmed, worked very hard to make sure that he could stay in the country.
Ahmed was able to get permanent residency in November 2012. This was before he made his first class debut in Victoria. The citizenship laws were amended so that people who played cricket could get citizenship under the same provision as tennis players and Olympic athletes.
As a result of this change, Ahmed was eligible to compete in the Winter Ashes last year. However, Bennett has noted that there is a difference between permanent residency and citizenship. He also stated that he understands why Ahmed does not want to comment on the issue. Furthermore, Bennett said the minister had to compromise with his own department with in order to come up with a solution.
Ahmed had received three death threats between May 2009 and February 2010 from members of the Taliban. During his time in Pakistan, he worked for an organization that promoted education for girls and women. He also coached and played cricket.
Ahmed’s initial application was rejected by the Refugee Review Tribunal member, but it was accepted when a claim was made stated that his life would be in danger if he returned to the same part of Australia. Cricket Australia has not commented on this.
Migration lawyers could have helped Ahmed’s case go more smoothly. Migration lawyers are professionals who are knowledgeable in immigration law.