Cricket: Drugs charges against Pakistanis dropped: Test series against West Indies to go ahead after Grenadian DPP intervenes

PAKISTAN'S cricket tour of the West Indies, in jeopardy since the arrest of captain Wasim Akram and three other players on drugs charges on Thursday, was given the green light late yesterday when the Director of Public Prosecutions in Grenada dropped the charges.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the case, scheduled for a court hearing in St George's this morning, would not take place. The Pakistanis had proclaimed their innocence of the official charge of 'constructive possession' of marijuana after they had been held along with two English women tourists and a Grenadian man on the beach in front of the team's hotel. The other players were vice- captain Waqar Younis, Aqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed.

Up till late on Saturday, the Grenada Police Commission, Nestor Ogilvie, had indicated that he felt his evidence was strong enough to hold up in court and the Pakistani team manager, Khalid Mahmood, had arranged to strengthen the defence by flying in internationally renowned human rights lawyer Ramesh Maharaj from Trinidad and another laywer Ashif Karim from London.

The Pakistani Cricket Board of Control had threatened to abort the tour if the matter was not settled to its agreement and the DPP decision now clears the three-Test series, which starts in Trinidad on Thursday.

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