Lahore: Pakistan's middle-order batsman Umar Akmal was arrested Saturday for violating traffic rules, interfering in government work and "scuffling" with a traffic official. Police said the 23-year-old Akmal, whose brothers Kamran and Adnan also play for Pakistan, did not stop at a traffic signal in the commercial Firdous market area in Lahore, and later brawled with a traffic warden.
"Three wardens tried to stop him after he violated a traffic signal but he did not (stop). And when he finally stopped, he scuffled with a warden and tore his uniform," senior local police official Zahid Nawaz told reporters. "Umar is under arrest and a case has been filed against him." But Akmal denied the charges, claiming he had been assaulted by the traffic warden first. "The warden hit me on my face and you can see the wounds," he told reporters.
"I myself came to the police station with a request to control the wardens who misbehave with people and police have instead registered a case against me." Later Saturday, the Lahore police took Akmal to a session court but could not produce him before the close of proceedings. Akmal's lawyer Wasim Mumtaz said police stopped him from meeting his client.
"The police wasted time and even stopped me from meeting him," said Mumtaz, who was unsure whether his client will be released on bail before court proceedings on Monday. Mumtaz added that the authorities had yet to show him a copy of the allegations against his client, a refusal which he described as "unlawful".
Akmal's elder brother Kamran, former Pakistan vice captain, also accompanied the lawyer. Kamran later told reporters that the police attitude was unacceptable. "Police did not let us meet Umar, who is injured, and did not give us a copy of the allegations against Akmal," he said.
"We are not terrorists, we have played cricket for the country and this treatment is unworthy of national heroes." Earlier, Akmal was charged on three bailable counts and faces the prospect of a large fine or six months in prison if convicted.
Akmal has so far played 16 Tests, 89 one-day internationals and 52 Twenty20 for Pakistan in a career that began in 2009. He is regarded as one of Pakistan's most talented batsman, but has failed to live up to his potential because of his rashness in batting and approach. He was dropped from the Test side in 2011 but regularly plays limited overs cricket.