LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday stayed the election of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman and sought replies from the federal government and other respondents to two identical petitions before two separate benches, challenging the poll.
Separately, the Islamabad High Court also sought a report from the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) on a petition filed against the election of the PCB chairman.
LHC Justice Shahid Karim issued the injunctive order on a petition filed by Gul Zada against the election and adjourned further hearing till the first week of August.
Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel told the judge that the Balochistan High Court had already stayed the election of the PCB chairman.
PCB’s counsel Imtiaz Rashid Siddiqui objected to the maintainability of the petition and sought permission to file a written reply.
The judge allowed the request and suspended the election schedule till the next hearing.
The petitioner contended that the election will be illegal since neither the PCB has concluded its regional elections nor updated voter lists. He said many zonal members of the board, including the petitioner, had not been included in the voter lists. He asked the court to stay the election of the PCB chairman scheduled for Tuesday (today).
Separately, Justice Anwar Hussain also passed a stay order against the election of the PCB chairman on a petition filed by Malik Zulfiqar.
Also on Tuesday, IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb sought a report from the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination on the petition filed by Irfan Manzoor, an office-bearer of PCB’s Islamabad region.
The petitioner challenged the notification issued on June 20 by the IPC ministry that dissolved the board’s management committee and handed over the PCB to the election commissioner.
The committee, which was led by Najam Sethi after his appointment in December last year, now stands dissolved with PCB Election Commissioner Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana having assumed the charge as acting chairman of the board until the elections are held.
The Sethi-led 14-member management committee was formed in December to fulfil their mandate in four months’ time, but despite being given a two-month extension in April, it could not complete the election process, with the polls in the regions, including federal areas, Abbottabad, Sialkot and Multan, still pending due to litigation amid allegations of pre-poll rigging.
The counsel for the petitioner drew the attention of the IHC to the undated notification issued by the PCB whereby members of the Board of Governors were notified. “The notification does not mention the name of any member of the BoG, but mentions them either by designation or the entity that is to nominate them,” he argued.
The counsel referred to the PCB’s June 22 press release, which stated the acting chairman had constituted the BoG in accordance with paragraph 10 of the PCB Constitution 2014 and in line with the notification dated June 20.
As per the press release, the two nominees for the PCB patron are Muhammad Zaka Ashraf and Mustafa Ramday. Their names were mentioned in the press release on the basis of a letter issued by the Prime Minister Office on June 20.
The petitioner explained that the prime minister is the PCB patron, arguing that since a new BoG had already been constituted through a notification, the PCB could not constitute a different governing body through a press release.
Justice Aurangzeb adjourned the hearing till July 4.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2023