PCB game of musical chairs takes new turn

Published July 11, 2014
Najam Sethi
Najam Sethi

ISLAMABAD: Former Supreme Court judge retired Justice Syed Jamshed Ali Shah has taken over as interim chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), where he will also act as the election commissioner for the board’s upcoming elections for the post of chairman. However, former boss Najam Sethi’s retention as a member of the body’s Board of Governors (BoG) is proving to be a divisive move.

On Thursday, a Supreme Court bench hearing the matter of the appointment of the PCB chairman asked Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt to seek instructions from the board’s patron – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – if he would consider removing Sethi’s name from the new BoG.

The directions came after Imtiaz Rashid Siddiqui, representing former PCB chairman Mohammad Zaka Ashraf, objected to Sethi’s inclusion in the BoG and said that Mr Ashraf would continue to be aggrieved as long as Mr Sethi remained in the new set-up.


Zaka assails Sethi’s inclusion in new board


A two-judge bench consisting of Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing an appeal filed by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, which oversees sports activities in the country, challenging the May 17 Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment to reinstate Zaka Ashraf as chairman in place of Najam Sethi.

On May 27, the apex court had ordered that a status quo be maintained, which allowed Sethi to continue as chairman.

On Thursday, the ministry issued a notification stating that the prime minister had ordered the appointment of Justice Shah as election commissioner after dissolving the interim Manage­ment Committee. The committee is to be replaced by a new board under Article 10 of the new PCB constitution.

Two members, Sethi and Iqbal Umer, have been appointed to the new BoG by the prime minister.

“Can Sethi be elected PCB chairman, despite being a member of the board,” Justice Nisar asked. The court was then told that he could.

Asma Jahangir argued on behalf of the ministry that the patron had the power to nominate any one of the BoG members as chairman. “Should that power be taken away and given to the Supreme Court,” she asked. Mr Ashraf, she said, was not party to the current workings of the board.

This prompted Justice Nisar to observe whether the July 10 notification could be issued at all in the presence of the apex court’s May 27 suspension order. “Najam is alive only because of our suspension orders, which, if withdrawn would automatically revive the high court order (reinstating Ashraf),” Justice Nisar reminded the counsel.

Justice Jamali asked Ms Jahangir not to defend or be worried about Sethi.

Justice Nisar then explained that Sethi was a well-respected individual, but this case was not about personalities. The question was whether Sethi should be part of the new arrangement that will be a permanent body in future, the judge said.

The attorney general explained that Sethi had ceased to be PCB chairman and requested the court to postpone further proceedings until Friday.

Under the notification, a chairman elected from among the board members would serve for three years and would also be eligible for re-election for another term.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2014

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