Asif faces 50% chances of jail term

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Mohammad Asif could end up in prison for carrying opium on him in Dubai. Meanwhile, PCB is contemplating taking action against him.

Updated: June 10, 2008 12:06 IST
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Pakistani speedster Mohammad Asif's troubles compounded after forensic examinations confirmed that he was carrying banned recreational drug opium when he was arrested at the Dubai International Airport Sunday.

However, the good news for Asif is that his urine sample was found to be negative by the UAE authorities.

Asif will continue to be in custody at the Dubai Airport detention centre, until further investigation, chief prosecutor Mohammad Ali Rustom told Gulf News Thursday.

"Dubai police's forensic laboratory results have confirmed that the contraband substance discovered in Asif's wallet is opium," said Rustom.

"Asif is being questioned by the public prosecution facing charges of smuggling and possessing drugs," he said.

Rustom explained that the cricketer has not yet been formally charged as this will happen only when the investigation is completed.

Rustom expects the investigation to be completed within a week, from Friday.

It is believed that Asif had 0.24gms of opium in his wallet when he was transiting through Dubai en route to Pakistan from India, where he played in the Indian Premier League.

Public prosecution also heard Friday the customs officer who had caught Asif.

Rustom said the investigation will continue till Sunday and it will then be decided whether to frame charges against the cricketer and refer to the Dubai Court of First Instance where he will be prosecuted, or to be deported instantly.

The worse news, however, for the fast bowler is that senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials give him just a 50-50 chance of escaping from the drug scandal without any punishment.

"After closely looking at Asif's situation, I believe he has a 50-50 chance of avoiding any punishment," an official, not wanting to be named, was quoted as saying in The News, which was the one to report that Asif's urine sample was negative.

In the meantime, other 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.

However, the official said the PCB would continue trying its best to get Asif back home.

"Our biggest target is to get the player released and bring him back home on the first available flight," he said.

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