The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has constituted a three-man committee to investigate Mohammad Asif's 19-day detention in Dubai on allegations of possessing an illegal substance. Asif returned to Pakistan on Friday after Dubai authorities dropped the case on grounds of it being "insignificant." There remains confusion over whether he was deported, as media reports in Dubai claim, or 'repatriated', as the PCB claimed in a statement.
"They (the committee) have been asked to acquire all the documents related to the case, establish facts, and after a complete investigation, submit a report to me," Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said in Lahore. "The same report will be sent to the ICC."
Of particular importance will be whether or not formal charges were actually laid down against Asif and whether he was subsequently pardoned. If no formal charges were placed, it could be that Asif escapes punishment altogether. But if charges have been placed and then withdrawn, it is likely Asif will face some sort of action, particularly as this is his second related offence.
The committee comprises of PCB officials Shaqfat Naghmi (chief operating officer), Zakir Khan (director -- cricket operations), and Nadeem Akram (director -- human resources), and they will begin their inquiry once they receive official records pertaining to the case from Dubai. Akram spent some time in Dubai handling Asif's case, though he came back before Asif was released.
"Based on the judgment's copy, we will consider whether Asif can be pardoned or not. A crime is a crime and any player who has committed it will be punished," Ashraf said. "It is a relief that he has been released, but it is a fact that this incident caused a lot of embarrassment and gave sleepless nights to the board."
Ashraf also said the hakeem (physician) who, according to Asif had given him the substance, could be questioned. "I have heard his (Asif's) point of view, and he told me that he was in possession of a pain killer given to him by an expert on natural herbs," he said. "If needed, we will also summon the hakeem to record his statement to know what exactly was in possession with Asif."