Karachi: Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif returned home early Friday after Dubai prosecutors dropped charges of possession of an illegal drug and ordered his deportation. The 25-year-old fast bowler was held at Dubai airport on June 1 while returning home from a domestic tournament in India, and charged with possessing a small amount of opium.
But Dubai Public prosecutors dropped the case on Thursday citing "insignificance" and announced he would be deported to Pakistan. Asif arrived at Karachi international airport Friday morning, before being whisked to a domestic terminal for a flight to the eastern city of Lahore. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) earlier welcomed the decision to drop the case, adding that it "is relieved that his ordeal is over." We appreciate the professional manner in which the whole issue was dealt with by the Dubai police, prosecution department and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities," it said in a statement.
"The drug tests conducted on Asif during the investigations in Dubai were clear and negative for any contraband substance," the statement said. The PCB will conduct its own immediate inquiryunder WADA rules, once official records are received from UAE authorities, it said. The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) in Pakistan said last week they will also deal with Asif under their rules and regulations.
Mohammad Al Nuaimi, the Dubai prosecutor who handled the charges, said on Thursday that the case "has been dropped against Mohammad Asif due to insignificance ..."
"It is definite that he committed the crime of smuggling and possessing 0.24 grams of opium as he was caught red-handed ... however in certain cases and for a faster litigation process the public prosecution drops a case due to insignificance and deports the suspect," he said, according to the online version of the local daily Gulf News.
Asif, a fast rising bowler, was also banned for one year after he and fellow paceman Shoaib Akhtar tested positive for nandrolone in September 2006.
Akhtar was banned for two years however the punishments were later overturned on appeal.
Asif, who has claimed 51 wickets in 11 Test matches and 36 wickets in 31 one-day internationals, was dropped from the team after being initially named in the 16-man squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh.
Pakistan won the tri-series beating India by 25 runs in the June 14 final.