Shoaib Akhtar responds to news of Salman Khan arrest

Shoaib Akhtar responds to news of Salman Khan arrest

ISLAMABAD - The news of "friend" Salman Khan being sentenced to five years in prison in the blackbucks poaching case has deeply saddened former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who found the punishment to be harsh.

"Really sad to see my friend Salman Khan sentenced for five years, but the law must take its course and we got to respect the decision of honourable court of India.

"But I still think punishment is too harsh, but my heart goes to his family and fans. I am sure he will be out soon," Shoaib Akhtar tweeted.

In the case stretching almost 20 years, his co-stars from the film, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari, were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

In addition to the 5 years sentence, the actor has been fined Rs 10,000 for hunting blackbucks which are protected animals under the Schedule I of the Wildlife Act since 1972. The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan considers the blackbucks to be a sacred animal.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri, while pronouncing the verdict in the case of killing the protected antelopes, called the 52-year-old actor a "habitual offender" under the wildlife protection laws of the country.