THE brother of a former Scotland cricket star at the centre of a death riddle has hit back at suggestions that the player faked his own death in Pakistan.
Amir Butt said the funeral of cricketer Asim Butt had been attended by more than 1000 people and claims from the player’s wife that he may still be alive were absolutely untrue.
In Thursday’s Evening News, Tara Butt, who was married to the Edinburgh cricketer for 16 years, said she believed he may not be dead as she had been unable to trace his death certificate.
Mr Butt’s brother Amir said the claims had left his family “very upset” and insisted Mrs Butt’s oldest son had been among the mourners at the funeral in Lahore, in Pakistan.
Amir Butt, 47, who formerly owned an Easter Road news- agents, said: “Asim had problems with Tara in the years before his death. They were getting a divorce and did not have good relations.
“Asim had been in poor health in the years before he died. He had suffered a brain haemorrhage, but had an operation that was successful. The doctors told him to avoid tension, and he still suffered from headaches.
“The day before he died, Asim said that he had a headache and took some painkiller tablets before going to bed. One of my brothers and my nephew found him in bed the next morning and his body was cold. Asim was taken to hospital but the doctors said there was nothing they could do.
“More than 1000 people came to Asim’s funeral as he was very well-respected in Pakistan. Tara had been married before she met Asim and already had two children, a son and a daughter.
“Her son was at Asim’s funeral in Lahore and even tried to film the ceremony where we bathed Asim’s body before his funeral on his phone.
“It has left us very upset. We have a death certificate so I don’t know why she is saying she can’t get one.”
The death of Asim Butt, who played 71 times for Scotland, was reported in November 2009, sparking a flood of tributes, including one from First Minister Alex Salmond.
Mrs Butt, 48, who now lives in Egypt, said she had been repeatedly told by the Pakistani authorities that no death record existed for the cricketer.
She claims the family of Mr Butt, who played for the Heriot’s club for more than a decade, had refused to respond to her queries. She believes that her husband could have faked his death for financial gain, or to be with a woman with whom he was having an affair.
Mr Butt added: “After Asim died, I decided to move back to Lahore. Asim had a shop along the road from mine next to the Easter Road stadium. It was very difficult when he was gone as we did everything together.”
Mrs Butt could not be reached for comment yesterday.