Ijaz Butt continues functioning despite term expiry

Former PCB chairmen and ex-players voiced concern over Ijaz Butt still continuing to function as Chairman despite the expiry of his term yesterday Getty Images

Karachi: Oct 9, 2011

A constitutional crisis has developed in Pakistan cricket after the government failed to notify the appointment of a new PCB Chairman despite the completion of incumbent Ijaz Butt’s three-year term.

Legal experts, former PCB chairmen and ex-players voiced concern over the fact that Butt was still continuing to function as Chairman despite the expiry of his term on Saturday.

“To be honest under the existing board constitution Ijaz Butt is no longer authorized to represent Pakistan at any forum including the ICC meeting,” former PCB Chairman and career diplomat, Shaharyar Khan told PTI.

Butt left for Dubai the day his term expired with the Presidency not issuing any notification about whether he would continue or someone in the board would be acting Chairman until a new head was appointed.

Under the constitution, the President — in this case Asif Zardari — appoints the Chairman of the board in his capacity as chief patron of cricket.

Shaharyar Khan said that Butt should not have gone to attend the ICC meeting as constitutionally he was no longer Chairman.

“He should have avoided it because from what I have studied about the constitution he is no longer authorized to represent or sign any document on behalf of Pakistan cricket,” Khan said.

He noted that there was always a possibility that with the PCB and ICC relations not very warm someone at the executive board might raise the issue of whether Butt could attend the executive board meeting.

“It would have been better if someone else from the board had represented Pakistan at the meeting.”

“I think if the Presidency didn’t issue a fresh notification Butt should have stepped down himself,” Khan added.

A former legal advisor of the board, Shaan Gul also claimed that the constitution didn’t allow the chief patron to give Butt a short extension.

“The government can’t give him a extension for say five or six months or even a year if they want him to continue they will have to give him a fresh three year term,” Gul said.

Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for the President made it clear that Butt was carrying on working as Chairman with the approval of the President.

“The chief patron appoints the Chairman and since we are considering extension of term for Butt he can continue to work with government approval,” Babar said.

Sources said while Butt was himself interested in continuing as Chairman and was using all his connections and political connections to get a proper extension, they were other names under consideration by the Presidency which could take a decision by Monday.

“Former Test captain Majid Khan is a front runner and others like Zaheer Abbas and Zaka Ashraf the head of a state owned bank, ZTBL, is also under consideration,” one source close to the Presidency said.

Majid who has also served as chief executive of the board is nowadays leading retired life having also served as controller sports in the state owned Pakistan television corporation. (PTI)