The Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland challenging the reduction of Umar Akmal's ban from 36 months to 18 months.
Akmal was initially handed a three-year suspension in April by the PCB for breaching the board's anti-corruption code, however, the middle-order batsman filed an appeal against the length of the sanction.
He was found guilty of violating the anti-corruption code on two separate occasions relating to a failure to report corrupt approaches to relevant authorities. Subsequently, an independent adjudicator, retired Supreme Court judge Faqir Mohammad Khokhar took a compassionate view of the matter and halved his sentence.
Akmal has maintained that he is not satisfied with the punishment imposed on him and pointed out other players who received more lenient sanctions for supposedly similar offences.
Nevertheless, the PCB has reiterated its firm stance on corruption in cricket and hopes to reinstate the original ban placed on Akmal by approaching the CAS.
“The PCB takes matters relating to anti-corruption very seriously and firmly maintains a zero-tolerance approach," the PCB said in a statement.
"The PCB believes a senior cricketer like Umar Akmal was aware of the consequences when, after having attended a number of anti-corruption lectures at domestic and international level, having witnessed the consequences of indulging in corrupt conduct, still failed to report the approaches to the relevant authorities."
This is not the first time that Akmal has been involved in an off-field controversy as tussles with authorities and fitness woes have forced him to often occupy a position on the sidelines. He last made an appearance for Pakistan during the ill-fated T20I series against Sri Lanka at home last year where he was dismissed for golden ducks in successive innings.
“The PCB doesn’t take any pride in seeing a cricketer of Umar’s stature being banned for corruption, but as a credible and respectable institution, we need to send out a loud and clear message to all our stakeholders that there will be no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who breaches the regulations," the PCB added.
The PCB has also ramped up its efforts to coax government stakeholders to introduce legislation criminalising match-fixing and "illegal manipulation" in sports.
A couple of months ago, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani had conveyed that Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan had backed their proposal to include jail time for offenders.
“The PCB, in its commitment and drive against corruption in sports, has already submitted a draft proposal with the relevant government authorities around legislation on criminalising corruption in sports and has also reviewed the existing legislation enacted within Pakistan whilst noting that the same fail to adequately target and address corruption/illegal manipulation in sports," the PCB stated.
“In the draft paper, the PCB has proposed severe sanctions pertaining to corruption, illegal manipulation, betting, match and spot-fixing as well as aiding and abetting such conduct; and proposes the penalties to be imposed on individuals found guilty of engaging in such offences.”