Cricketer Mohammad Asif arrested in Dubai with drugs (Second Lead)June 3rd, 2008 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS
By Aroonim Bhuyan and Muhammad Najeeb
Dubai/Islamabad, June 3 (IANS) Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif, returning home after playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), was sent to police custody here Tuesday on charges of possessing drugs, two days after he was caught at the Dubai airport. “The person concerned has been handed over to the drugs unit of Dubai police,” an airport customs official told IANS.
Asif, who played for the Delhi Daredevils team in the IPL tournament that ended Sunday, was returning to Pakistan from Mumbai via Dubai. Unconfirmed reports said he had hashish.
The fast bowler had played in the Friday semi-final against the Rajasthan Royals.
If found guilty, Asif faces a minimum four-year jail sentence. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with other Gulf countries, has a zero tolerance policy for possession of drugs.
Asif is a contracted player of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Confirming his arrest, PCB’s chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi told IANS from Lahore: “We are in touch with the authorities in the UAE through our embassy.”
Media reports in Pakistan said Asif was arrested after being trapped by a sniffer dog in the transit lounge of Dubai airport.
Naghmi said he was unable to confirm if Asif had any drugs. But another PCB official told IANS on condition of anonymity that Asif appeared to be in possession of cigarettes filled with hashish.
Pakistan’s foreign office said it was in touch with the authorities in Dubai but did not know if Asif had confessed to carrying illegal drugs, as reported by a section of the media.
“We came to know about the incident Sunday night. Since then we’re working with the Pakistan embassy in the UAE to know the facts,” a ministry official added.
Asif was banned for one year and 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.
The PCB official said that if found guilty this time, Asif could face a life ban. “Certainly we will proceed against him if he is guilty and he could be banned for life.”
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 also said Asif might be banned from future editions of the tournament if he was found guilty.
Various players were tested for dope during the IPL tournament that ended Sunday.
IPL officials were trying to ascertain if Asif was one of those tested last week. If so, they would submit the sample for re-analysis.
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