Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif’s ordeal continues

June 9th, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, June 9 (IANS) The ordeal of Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif, held for allegedly possessing drugs, continues as he spent his eighth day in detention here Monday. “We are yet to hear from the attorney general’s office to which the case has been referred,” Nadeem Akram, director of human resource and administration at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), told IANS here late Monday afternoon.

“No charge has been filed against Asif yet,” added Akram, who was deputed by the PCB to help secure the cricketer’s release.

Dubai’s chief prosecutor completed his hearing of the cricketer’s case Sunday afternoon and then referred it to the attorney general.

The 25-year-old fast bowler was detained by customs authorities at the Dubai International Airport June 1 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) semi-final for Delhi Daredevils against eventual tournament winners Rajasthan Royals May 30.

Dubai airport customs authorities handed him over to the drugs unit of Dubai Police last Tuesday and sent his blood and urine samples as well as the drugs found on him for laboratory tests.

The results of the tests were received Thursday and Asif recorded his statement at the office of the chief prosecutor the same day.

Though the results of the tests have not been officially revealed, media reports here, quoting sources, said that the blood and urine samples have tested negative and the substance found on Asif was opium.

“We got the lab results on the substance found in Asif’s possession on Thursday and we identified it as being 0.24 gm of opium,” The National newspaper quoted chief prosecutor Mohammed Ali Rustom as saying.

“When arrested, the suspect said he took the substance to give him energy and said he left this small amount in his wallet by accident,” he added.

Rustom said blood tests did not show Asif had taken any illegal drugs and denied his arrest was the result of a possible tip-off.

Pointing out that investigations into the matter continued, he said the cricketer might even have to wait till the end of the week before a decision was taken.

As of now, Asif continues to be lodged in the detention centre at the Dubai International Airport.

PCB had earlier backed the player, saying he was innocent till formally charged by the UAE authorities.

It has hired the services of a local legal firm, Angel & Afridi, to aid the cricketer.

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