Asif not to be released on Sunday

Published: Sunday, June 8, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Islamabad: Even after detained Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif's urine test was found negative, Dubai authorities will today decide whether he should be charged for possession of drugs or allowed to return home.

However, PCB official, Nadeem Akram said that Asif is unlikely to be released on Sunday. Nadeem Akram was sent by the PCB from Lahore to Dubai to seek Asif's early release.

"I don't think he will be released even on Sunday. The earliest he can travel to Pakistan, that too at the mercy of Dubai authorities, will be on Monday. On Sunday, the chief prosecutor will cross examine the two, three witnesses who were instrumental in finding banned-substance from the bowler. The prosecutor may finish his findings on Sunday and send his report to the Attorney General of Dubai," TOI quoted Nadeem as saying.

Though the substance found in his baggage is confirmed to be opium, Asif said Dubai authorities that he was unaware about how it appeared in his baggate.

"The factual position is that at the moment he is under detention and the prosecutor has confirmed that the substance found with him was opium. Asif says he didn't know how it got into his wallet," a senior official of the board said.

"The prosecutor has to decide on Sunday if there is a strong enough case and evidence to try Asif for possession of drugs. He is now under the laws of Dubai and we are keeping our fingers crossed," he added.

The official said indications were that Asif might have to remain in detention for a bit longer as the prosecutor could allow customs and police officials to carry out more investigations and further question Asif.

Meanwhile, top PCB officials have been working 'behind the scenes' to get Asif off the hook by trying to use their connections in the influential circles in the UAE. But, in spite of all the efforts, the Board official's admission that a jail-term for Asif remains a possibility comes as a big jolt for the pacer.

Asif (25) was caught with an illegal substance in his wallet on last Sunday at Dubai and was detained by the local authorities. At the time of being caught, the bowler was coming home from India after having appeared in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League.


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