Two Pakistani Team Members Opt to Stay Behind


Two Pakistani cricket team members have opted to stay behind in Jamaica, after the team’s departure for home yesterday (March 24), from the tourist capital, Montego Bay, St. James.
According to Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, First Secretary at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington D.C. in the United States, the two, Asad Mustafa, Pakistani Cricket Board operations manager, and Murray Stevenson, trainer, have remained in Jamaica to look after the Woolmers’ interest. Robert ‘Bob’ Woolmer, the Pakistani Coach, was found unconscious in his hotel room at the Jamaica Pegasus on Sunday, March 18 and was pronounced dead at hospital after efforts to resuscitate him failed. The official post mortem report from the Government pathologist states that Mr. Woolmer’s death, “was due to asphyxia, as a result of manual strangulation.” “One of them is staying back at the request of wife [Gill Woolmer]. He will be representing her here and will be escorting the body back. The other person is staying back because he has a couple of other things to wind up, because the team has left in uneasy circumstances, so he will be taking care of Bob’s belongings,” Mr. Chaudhri said, adding that he would be free to go as he was not detained.
“He is staying here at his own will,” he told journalists at a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus on March 24.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Mark Shields, who was also at the press conference, said that investigators had questioned two Pakistani team members and their manager in Montego Bay prior to their departure yesterday, as part of continued investigations into the murder of Mr. Woolmer. Those questioned were Inzamam-ul-Haq, captain of the team; Mushtaq Ahmed, assistant coach, and Talat Ali, the team manager. He explained that questioning persons was part and parcel of a murder investigation. “What I can say is that they were asked just a few questions to clear up some ambiguities, those questions were answered satisfactorily and the players are on their way,” he said, responding to speculation that the police now had three suspects. “To go into detail [about the questions] would be inappropriate. There is nothing that we would say to the contrary, as the Pakistan team have throughout this whole ordeal co-operated and I am satisfied there is absolutely no reason at all why they should not leave the island,” Mr. Shields said.
He informed that members of the Pakistani team were considered witnesses in some form or the other as they were all with Coach Woolmer at some time during the afternoon of their match with Ireland on March 17, on the way back to the hotel in the bus and also at the hotel itself. “It was imperative then that we got a real clear picture of exactly what happened, so we questioned all of those players and anybody else who was in contact with Bob on Saturday evening,” Mr. Shields said.
“We need to be absolutely thorough and clear and ensure that if there was any ambiguity in anybody’s statement, that we should clear up those ambiguities as soon as we possibly can,” he added.
Since the death of 58 year-old Coach Woolmer, all the Pakistani team members have been questioned and have freely given answers and provided voluntary written statements. They have also been fingerprinted and have provided DNA swabs.
Pakistan was eliminated from the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 on March 17 at Sabina Park, beaten by Ireland.

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