Islamabad High Court strips PCB acting Chairman Najam Sethi of all powers and authority

Najam Sethi (above) had replaced Zaka Ashraf as the PCB chief © AFP

Karachi: Jul 21, 2013 

The turmoil in Pakistan cricket refuses to end with the Islamabad High Court stripping PCB‘s acting Chairman Najam Sethi of all powers and authority.

The Islamabad High Court, acting on a constitutional writ petition, also ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold polls for the Chairman’s position within 90 days starting on Sunday.

The Court also made it mandatory that only those candidates be eligible to contest who were graduates and had either played first-class or Test cricket.

The IHC, in its 30-page judgement, also passed some other strong decisions that included a directive to the Auditor General of Pakistan to carry out a complete audit of the PCB accounts for the last five years.

It Court also felt that a journalist and one cricket enthusiast with considerable knowledge should be part of the national selection committee.

It also made it clear that the President’s role in the country was symbolic and that authority, if any, has to be exercised by the Prime Minister.

Until now the President, in his role as Chief Patron of the board, directly appointed the Chairman of the PCB and also had a major role in finalising two members of the nomination committee that shortlist candidates for the Chairman’s election.

It was under this process that Zaka Ashraf was elected Chairman in May after he had been originally appointed Chairman by President Asif Zardari in October, 2011.

The IHC described the election process and part IV of the constitution as deceptive and dubious device to engineer the election of Ashraf.

Ashraf’s election was challenged in the court by the coach of the Army team, Major (retd) Nadeem Sadal, who had also challenged the election process.

It was on his writ petition that the court first stopped Ashraf from working as PCB Chairman and which led to the appointment of Najam Sethi as acting Chairman by the government.

A legal advisor of the PCB told PTI that the Board had still not received the IHC judgement and had come to know about it through media reports.

“The judgement which is being reported in the media could have far reaching consequences and has the potential to being misinterpreted,” he said.

“Some of the findings were neither argued nor part of any proceedings filed by any party in the court,” he added.

Sethi recently appointed Moin Khan as chief selector and also approved the national squad for the West Indies tour.

Questions are now being asked as to who will take decisions on selection matters as the Pakistan under-23 team has to participate in a tournament in Singapore while the national team will go to Zimbabwe in August.