LAHORE - Eight Pakistani hockey officials including four former Olympians appeared in court on Sunday on gambling charges. Police official Nasir Hameed said the eight were detained late Saturday and brought before a special court Sunday afternoon.
"We raided a Lahore hotel and arrested eight people who were all hockey officials," Nasir Hameed, Station House Officer, told AFP. The eight can be held in custody and interrogated for the next two weeks before appearing in court again, he added. Hameed, however, refused to elaborate on the nature of their alleged gambling.
Gambling is illegal in Pakistan but cricket matches nonetheless attract huge numbers of bets. The Olympians arrested included Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf, Danish Kaleem and Anjum Saeed. Ibrahim, Ashraf and Kaleem were part of Pakistan's last World Cup-winning team in Australia in 1994. Ibrahim was recently appointed coach of Pakistan's junior team while Kaleem and Ashraf had also coached various national teams.
The other officials -- M Irfan, Irfan Zia, Rana Zaheer and Sohail Ashraf -- are also currently associated with Pakistan Hockey Federation in various capacities. Pakistan, four times world and three times Olympic champions, have recently experienced a huge slump at the international level. They finished 12th and last in the 2010 World Cup held in India and failed to qualify for this year's World Cup which was held in the Netherlands in June. Pakistan's senior team is due to defend its Asian Games title in Incheon, South Korea next month.