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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif removes Najam Sethi as PCB chief

Najam Sethi © Getty Images
Najam Sethi © Getty Images

Karachi: Jul 10, 2014

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his capacity as patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has removed Najam Sethi as chairman and dissolved the management committee while appointing a ad-hoc chairman and election commissioner to hold elections in the board in 30 days time.

The Attorney General of Pakistan, Salman Butt told a two-member bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday in Islamabad that Justice (retd) Jamshad Ali Shah has been appointed as acting Chairman and chief election commissioner to hold elections for the Chairman’s position in 30 days time.

“The government will also be issuing notification for the new constitution of the board under which the elections will held,” Butt said. Justice Jamshad will be assisted by a governing board that includes Sethi and Iqbal Umar but the lawyer for petitioner Zaka Ashraf, who was replaced as chairman by Sethi in February, raised objection to the presence of Sethi on the board.

“We don’t want Sethi in this interim set-up and someone else should be appointed in his place by the Prime Minister,” Imtiaz Siddiqui said. The Attorney General has sought one-day’s time from the court to brief the PM and see if an alternate can be named. These developments took place at the hearing of the SC bench which is looking into petitions filed separately by the ministry of inter provincial coordination [which looks after sports in Pakistan] and the PCB against the reinstatement of Ashraf as Chairman by the Islamabad High Court and counter petitions filed by Ashraf against Sethi and the government order in February.

The two-member bench observed that while it wanted a quick disposal of the case and cricket in Pakistan to be run smoothly and without favoritism or nepotism it would observe to see the new constitution and process of elections for the Chairman’s post. Justice Jamshad told reporters at the Gaddafi stadium later in the day that he had only been told to look after day-to-day affairs of the board and his main task was to supervise the elections of the chairman.

“It is only after I look at the detailed order of the court and the new constitution that I can say for certainty what my responsibilities are and whether the elections would be only for the Chairman’s post or for other positions as well,” he said. The Justice who is also head of the PCB’s integrity committee said his foremost task was to implement court orders and hold elections fairly.

Asked if he was authorized to change recent decisions taken by Sethi and his management committee, Justice Jamshad said he could only comment on this after looking at the court order and constitution. Since May 2013 when Ashraf got himself elected as the chairman of the board through a questionable election process it has been a game of musical chairs in the board with the chairman’s position being changed between Ashraf and Sethi atleast seven times either on court orders or by the government.

Since January this year Ashraf has twice been reinstated as Chairman by the Islamabad High Court and twice removed and replaced by Sethi. The last time this happened was when on February 9 the IHC restored Ashraf as Chairman and sacked Sethi but three days later the Supreme Court stayed the IHC order and allowed Sethi to continue working with the management committee which was appointed by the Prime Minister in February.

Sethi tweeted that he has been nominated by PM as member of PCB of Governors is eligible to contest election to post of chairman.

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