PCB election meets ICC requirements - Ashraf
The PCB has admitted that the endorsement of Zaka Ashraf for next four years as chairman was processed through a "representation process" and not purely a democratic process, but said it complied with the ICC's recommendations. According to the amended constitution, the chairman is still a nominated candidate, though one who is "endorsed" by ten elected members in the Board of Governors.
In 2011, the ICC stipulated that its member boards become autonomous and free of interference from governments by June 2013. Removal of government interference had also been one of the Woolf report recommendations approved by the ICC.
The PCB's 2007 constitution was then amended to change the method of appointing the board's chairman and alter the structure of its governing board. However, the process is still complicated, and the president of Pakistan, who is the patron of the PCB, retains a central role in appointing the chairman. Ashraf defended the transition as "fair and transparent to prevent a malicious candidate to step up to take the office".
"The new constitution complies with the recommendations made by the ICC and has been accepted, appreciated and welcomed by the ICC," Ashraf told a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "It has been a much-needed transition and a necessary step in ensuring the development and better administration of the game of cricket. The key features of the constitution were also discussed individually with the ICC president and CEO and it fulfills the requirements of parameters laid down by them. The PCB is fully compliant."
The PCB has been criticised in the past because its constitution allowed the chairman almost dictatorial powers. The amended constitution hasn't changed that. The chairman can control and oversee income and expenditure in accordance with the budget approved by the board of governors. The major shortcoming in the new constitution is that the chairman has ultimate power with no recourse to remove him from the post in any circumstances. Also, the incumbent can be nominated for more than one term.
"The new constitution entrusts the board of governors [BoG] with greater responsibility and the power to make regulations for the better governance of the PCB. Previously, most rules had to be approved by the federal government," said Ashraf who insisted that "the constitution has been followed in letter and spirit and the PCB chairman has been appointed through the process defined in the constitution."
The restructured 14-member body includes five elected regional representatives picked on a rotation basis and five elected representatives of service organisations and departments who have the power of endorsement to the nominated chairman. The regions whose representatives accepted Ashraf's nomination were: Peshawar, Islamabad, Larkana and Dera Murad Jamali while the fifth spot is yet to be filled. Punjab - which has 60% of Pakistan's population - doesn't have a representative in the BoG as Ashraf said the regions within Punjab hadn't completed their own elections yet.
The transition, however, was surprising and conducted secretly with the PCB revealing the appointment through a press release, citing it as an internal matter and not a public one. "This is a representative process, that's why the word nominated as per process has been used (in the constitution)," explained the PCB solicitor, Taffazul Rizvi. "There are certain criteria which are defined in the constitution and the word democracy has a wide range. The PCB election is different from the way general elections are conducted."
It is understood that with the general election due on Saturday, a new government could bring in a change in PCB hierarchy. With his future as chairman uncertain, Ashraf implemented the new constitution and was eventually elected for a new term.
"We had to implement the new constitution to meet the deadline given by ICC," said Ashraf, to justify the abrupt move 72 hours before the general election in the country. "It was expected and we were already working on it from last many months. We didn't want to delay it, we have to have the new constitution in place before June to satisfy the ICC requirement."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here