(Reuters) – Pakistan-born refugee Fawad Ahmed’s Ashes dreams received a major boost yesterday with the Australian senate passing legislation to fast-track citizenship in special cases.
The legislation empowers the immigration minister to apply shorter residential requirements on certain citizenship seekers. “This is pleasing news for CA and a big step forward in a process that will help enable Fawad Ahmed become an Australian citizen,” a Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman said on the governing body’s website (www.cricket.com.au). Ahmed, a 31-year-old leg spinner, arrived in Australia in 2010 on a short-term visa and claimed asylum on the grounds of receiving death threats from Islamic extremists for being involved with a Pakistani NGO promoting women’s rights. The spinner, who has claimed 40 wickets from 14 first class matches, was picked in the Australia A squad to tour South Africa and Zimbabwe starting next month but could be handed a debut in the first test against England starting on July 10.