Pakistan officials await cricketer Mohammad Asif’s test results (Lead)

June 4th, 2008 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar
By Aroonim Bhuyan and Muhammad Najeeb
Dubai/Islamabad, June 4 (IANS) Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif, held in Dubai on drug possession charges on his way home after playing in the Indian Premier League, will get to know whether he can leave for Pakistan only after the results of the laboratory tests on the substance found on him come in. “We are awaiting the results of the laboratory tests on the substance found on him,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ahsan Ullah Khan told IANS from Abu Dhabi.

“We hope there is a positive outcome so that he can be released at the earliest and leave for Pakistan,” he said.

The ambassador added that a lawyer has been appointed by the Pakistan mission to aid the cricketer.

He also dismissed media reports that charges against the cricketer have been dropped.

An official in the Pakistan consulate in Dubai told reporters: “There is no question of charges against Mohammad Asif being dropped (by UAE authorities) when no charge has been filed against him as yet.”

The Pakistani fast bowler was detained by customs authorities at the Dubai International Airport Sunday for allegedly possessing drugs.

He was on his way back to Lahore via Dubai from Mumbai where he had played the Indian Premier League (IPL) semifinal for the Delhi Daredevils against Rajasthan Royals last Friday.

Dubai airport customs authorities handed him over to the drugs unit of Dubai Police early Tuesday.

His blood and urine samples as well as the drugs found on him were sent for laboratory tests Tuesday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday backed the player, saying he was innocent till formally charged by UAE authorities.

The PCB said Tuesday that Asif was apparently carrying only some “medicines” and not banned drugs.

“We are hopeful that the matter would be resolved soon and the whole affair would prove to be a big mistake,” PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi told a press conference in Lahore.

He said that PCB considered him innocent until UAE authorities file a chargesheet against him.

Asif was banned for a year and his teammate Shoaib Akhtar for two years after they tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone in October 2006. The ban was removed on appeal two months later.

Naghmi earlier said Asif, if found guilty this time, could face a life ban.

According to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, an athlete faces a life ban if he or she is found positive a second time. Asif was acquitted the first time.

IPL sources said Asif might be banned from future editions of the tournament if he was found guilty.

Various players were tested at random for dope during the IPL tournament that ended Sunday. IPL officials were reportedly planning to submit Asif’s recent samples for re-analysis.

Contacted by IANS, International Cricket Council (ICC) officials in Dubai refused to comment on the issue.

“This is purely an internal matter of the PCB and is not related to any ICC event. The ICC cannot comment on this,” an official said.

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