Pakistan cricket authorities on Friday banned five women cricketers for falsely accusing their male officials of sexual harassment after an investigation ruled they lied about the allegations.
In June this year, five women cricketers from the central Multan region accused their club chairman and a team selector of demanding sexual favours in return for their selection in the regional and national teams.
The charges were initially made in a television show but Sultan Alam, chairman of Multan Cricket Club, and his selector Mohammad Javed denied the allegations.
Seema Javed, a prominent club cricketer, alleged that Alam, 70, once came to her and asked her to convince another girl to give him favours.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set up an inquiry to look into the allegations which ruled that the five players should be banned for six months and censured Multan cricket officials.
"The inquiry committee set up to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment by five women cricketers against the management of Multan Cricket Club has recommended that all five should be banned from playing any form of cricket for six months with effect from October 23, 2013," PCB announced in a press release.
According to the same release, when questioned by the committee three of the five women, including Javed, "categorically denied having been sexually harassed or having seen such harassment taking place", while the other two women declined to present their case at the inquiry.
All three who were questioned were serving one penalty or ban for various offences and that was the focus of their complaint, the release added.
The Multan District Cricket Association, which overseas cricket in the region, has also been censured and asked to keep a close watch on Multan Cricket Club and ensure that all clubs registered with them follow the regulations and disciplinary procedures of PCB, the release said.
Ayesha Ashaar, the convenor of the probe committee and manager of Pakistan women's cricket, said that even after they have served the ban, "all five girls will be kept under probation for a period of one year after which the evaluation of their conduct will be made".
Pakistani women cricketers have done well on the international level during previous few years but young girls still suffer hardships to be allowed to play in the deeply conservative Muslim nation.
The national women cricket team is governed by the PCB, which looks after all affairs relating to the game and players in the country.