LAHORE: Test cricketer Umar Akmal was released on bail on Sunday, a day after his arrest for allegedly violating traffic rules and scuffling with a policeman.
Akmal was charged with interfering with government work after he failed to stop at a traffic signal in Lahore and refused to show his documents, according to the police. Traffic warden Mohammad Zeeshan accused Akmal of tearing his uniform and assaulting him, charges that the batsman denied.
Akmal’s lawyer said Judicial magistrate Shaukat Javed granted him bail against a solvent surety of Rs100,000. “Akmal’s bail has been confirmed,” lawyer Wasim Mumtaz told reporters outside the court. “We will register our protest as Akmal was kept under unlawful detention.”
The counsel submitted that Umar Akmal is Pakistani hero but the police detained him for several hours rather than producing him before the magisterial court. He contended that his client had approached the police station to get an FIR registered against the traffic warden who misbehaved with him, but the police implicated his client in forged case.
Investigation Officer (IO) Muhammad Imdad produced the case record before the court, submitting that they have no objection if the accused is granted bail.
A visibly upset Akmal later told reporters he had tried his best to comply with the law. “It was a case of police showing their strength and I tried my level best to resolve the matter.”
He said he was humiliated by the police officials, despite having done nothing. He said the traffic warden misbehaved with him first and he had not torn any police uniform.
Meanwhile, Akmal’s father criticised the arrest. “When our own people insult our national heroes, then the rest of the world will also do this,” said Mohammad Akmal. “It’s insulting and unacceptable.”
Akmal has played 16 Tests, 89 One-Day Internationals and 52 Twenty20s for Pakistan in a career that began in 2009.
He is regarded as one of Pakistan’s most talented batsmen, but has failed to live up to his potential because of his rashness in batting, which led to him being dropped from the Test side in 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2014.