Thursday, June 19, 2008

Senators call for state intervention in Asif case

Pakistan senator: "'Mohammad Asif is a superstar of Pakistan and we should not leave him alone over there".

The Senate Standing Committee on Sports in Pakistan has requested the intervention of president Pervez Musharraf and prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in securing the release of fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who has been in detention in Dubai for suspected possession of an illegal substance since June 1.

"Mohammad Asif is a superstar of Pakistan and we should not leave him alone over there [Dubai] and should not spare any effort to bring him back," senator Zafar Iqbal Chaudhary said during the committee meeting on Wednesday. "We request the president and the premier to intervene in the matter and bring back the superstar.

"Asif represents Pakistan and the [cricket] board should also talk to the president of Pakistan, who is the patron of the board, to do something in this regard."

Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan board chairman, replying to a question from senator Enver Baig said that they hadn't received any information about Asif from Dubai. "We have hired a legal firm which is working on the case," Ashraf said. "However, it hasn't yet been established exactly what substance was he carrying with him."

Baig, an outspoken PCB critic who has previously criticised the PCB's efforts to help Asif, said that "an exemplary punishment be given to Asif" and suggested that he be banned for life if found guilty.

It is likely that the PCB will take action against Asif should he return, but even if they don't, the ICC might. They have been monitoring the situation and it is possible that Asif will face penalties under the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), of which the ICC is a signatory, once he is released.

Dave Richardson, ICC's acting chief executive, said that they had asked the PCB to keep them updated on the Asif issue. "As far as we know he has not been charged as yet," Richardson said. "But since the ICC is a signatory of WADA regulations if he is charged then he is liable to penalties under WADA code of conduct."