LAHORE: Seven government officials, including Punjab chief secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman, have been inducted into the Pakistan Cricket Board, as outgoing Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar continues to take long-term decisions before an elected prime minister takes charge in the first week of March to take major steps as PCB patron-in-chief.

First, the caretaker PM nominated Mohsin Naqvi for the post of PCB chairman. At that time, Mohsin was also working as caretaker chief minister Punjab. Later, he was elected as PCB chief on Feb 6, two days before the general elections in the country.

Anwaar silently made an amendment to the PCB constitution, which increased the number of his nominees from two to three on the PCB Board of Gove­rnors, the principal think-tank of the cricket board.

First, Anwar had named two nominees including Mohsin besides retaining Mustafa Ramday, who was nominated by then prime minister Shahbaz Sharif along with Zaka Ashraf.

And now Zahid has been incorporated, increasing the number of PM’s nominees.

Moreover, the Establishment Division issued the orders of government officials including Sohail Ashraf (BS-20), Zain Asim (BS-18), Abdullah Khurram Niazi (BS-18), Irtiza Komail and Rafiullah to join the PCB.

According to sources, a police official Usman will also join the PCB.

When contacted, a PCB official confirmed to Dawn that the orders regarding some of the officials had been issued by the Establishment Division. However so far, it is not clear as to what job they would do.

“Currently, the PCB chairman is on leave, and is abroad with his family. When he returns the situation about the jobs of these government officials will be decided,” the PCB official said on the condition of anonymity.

It may be mentioned here that Abdullah Khurram, who will leave his post as deputy commissioner, Jhang, a native town of Mohsin, to join the PCB, had already worked as secretary of the defunct Punjab Cricket Association during Ehsan Mani’s tenure under the 2019 PCB constitution, which was replaced with the 2014 constitution, which was restored by the Shahbaz-led government in 2022.

Sources said though the Establishment Division had issued the notification on Sohail Ashraf’s transfer to the PCB, the Punjab government had not relieved him yet.

All these government officials, sources added, would run the PCB on higher positions as several directors in the PCB may lose their jobs.

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2024

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