Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi will have to quit if he fails to fit into the new elgibility criteria  AFP

Lahore: Oct 22, 2013

With Islamabad High Court setting stringent rules for new Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman candidates, head of the ad hoc committee Najam Sethi may have to resign from his post as he fails to fit into the new eligibility criteria.

The IHC judge, while announcing new polls date of November 2, ruled yesterday that the candidates should be graduates, must have played Test or First-class cricket and headed a regional cricket association, making Sethi ineligible to contest for the post of PCB chairman.

“Apparently Mr Sethi has no option but to follow the court’s direction to hold the election to choose new regular PCB chairman. However, he may challenge the IHC decision in the Supreme Court to get relief,” a PCB official told PTI on Tuesday.

He says Sethi is consulting with other ad hoc committee members and the legal team of PCB before he makes up his mind to adopt a legal course to retain his position.

Earlier, to save Sethi from the contempt of court proceeding for not holding election for a full fledged PCB chairman, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) for three months to run the day to day affairs of the PCB.

The five-member committee comprises Sethi, former PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and ex-Pakistan team manager Naveed Akram Cheema and former Test cricketers Zaheer Abbas and Haroon Rasheed.

The other four member unanimously elected Sethi the committee’s chairman. Reportedly an undertaking was taken from them before their nomination that they would vote for Sethi.

When Sethi had taken the charge of ‘caretaker’ PCB chairman some three months ago he had said he would only “stay in office for a month or so” before a full time chairman takes over.

However, the perks and protocol associated with the office of PCB chairman have reportedly changed his mind and now he says he wants to stick to the job for the sake of Pakistan cricket. Sethi personally requested PM Sharif to make him a full-time chairman so that he could ‘serve’ the cricket.

PM Sharif has also become patron-in-chief of the PCB, replacing the president.

The opposition had declared the appointment of Sethi a “reward” for him for extending favours to the PML-N in May 2013 general elections. Sethi was caretaker chief minister of Punjab province.

“Sethi had served Sharifs like a personal servant in the elections and in return he got this lucrative reward,” Pakistan People’s Party senior leader Raja Riaz told PTI.

He says the PML-N talks about merit but by handing over cricket affairs to Sethi who knows nothing about the game of cricket shows how much merit is being followed here.

“Sethi should show some moral courage and resign before he is thrown out by the court,” Riaz said.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court has admitted petition challenging the constitution of an ad hoc committee headed by Sethi to run affairs of the PCB.

Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan yesterday set aside the objection and admitted the petition for hearing next week.

Aftab Maqsood filed the petition saying the prime minister, also patron-in-chief of the PCB, did not have the authority to constitute an interim management committee. He said: “The PM acted beyond his powers only to benefit his blue-eyed boy.”

The petitioner pleaded that the PM was bound to hold PCB elections without any delay to implement the constitution. He prayed to the court to set aside the interim management committee and direct the board patron-in-chief to hold elections.