Race to be elected PCB chief hots up

Published June 8, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board’s interim Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi (L) attends a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (C) on Wednesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board’s interim Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi (L) attends a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (C) on Wednesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The race to be elected Pakistan Cricket Board chairman intensified on Wednesday.

As Najam Sethi, the chair of the PCB’s interim management committee, called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, another former chief of the country’s cricket board, Zaka Ashraf, met with Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari.

Zaka has the backing of the Pakistan Peoples Party while Sethi is the candidate for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and both coalition partners are making efforts to get their nominees approved by the PCB’s Patron-in-Chief, the prime minister.

The patron is the competent authority to appoint two members of Board of Governors of PCB and traditionally, the prime minister’s nominee has won the elections.

Sethi was appointed as head of the 14-member interim committee in December last year to run the run the affairs of the PCB till the elections are held within the next four months. However, the committee is yet to complete elections in several regions so far amid court cases with many club operators having alleged rigging in the process, resulting in the extension of the tenure of the committee till June 20.

A difference of opinion exists in the power corridors with PML-N seeking to secure nomination from the prime minister, a move opposed by the PPP, which wants Zaka to be the PCB chief.

Well-placed sources told Dawn that the PPP leadership is of the view that since the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination was given to it, and with the Pakistan Democratic Movement being a coalition government, it is their right to have its man as PCB chief.

“It is strange that the interim committee, which was mandated to hold free and fair elections, is yet to do so and now Sethi wants to become the new chairman,” a PPP stalwart told Dawn on the condition of anonymity. “We will be resisting that move as Zaka is our candidate.”

IPC minister Mazari, who belongs to PPP, confirmed that Zaka has their backing.

“The ministry has already moved his [Zaka’s] summary of to the PM office for approval,” he told Dawn. “We have great regard for Sethi but we’re clear who our candidate is and I held a meeting with him today to discuss cricket issues in detail.”

Those supporting Sethi claim he should be elected PCB chief, noting that in his previous tenure the 75-year-old had restored international cricket in the country and only recently he had been tactful in handling the issues surrounding Pakistan’s hosting of the Asia Cup.

Reports soon after Sethi met the prime minister suggested that Sethi and Mustafa Ramday, an advocate of the Supreme Court, had been nominated to the PCB Board of Governors.

But a senior bureaucrat in federal government told Dawn that no such decision was made yet. “But the prime minister will announce his nominees in the coming days,” he added. “There is no issue on name of Mustafa Ramday, but we could face reaction of PPP on Sethi’s name.”

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023

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