The curious case of the constitution that never came February 2, 2007

PCB under fire over constitution...still

Khalid Hussein

The going is about to get a little tougher for Nasim Ashraf © AFP

Nasim Ashraf, PCB chairman, is set to become the target of scathing criticism for a group of hawk-eyed Senators after his failure to have the Board's new constitution in place by the January 31 deadline.

The chairman had promised to implement the new constitution by the end of last month but the deadline has passed with no development on the thorny issue.

Ashraf gave the assurance at a meeting of Senate's Standing Committee on Sports in Islamabad where he was grilled by the committee members on the board's new constitution a few weeks back.

"Apparently Mr. Nasim Ashraf had made a false statement to the committee," Senator Enver Baig told this correspondent from Islamabad on February 1.

The draft of an amended constitution was sent to the President House by the PCB for approval from President Pervez Musharraf, the Board's chief patron. From the President House it was sent to Attorney General of Pakistan, Makhdoom Ali Khan.

A board official said that there is no official word on the document from any quarter adding that the issue would only be settled once Ashraf returns from South Africa where he would be watching Pakistan's matches against the hosts in the one-day series starting from today.

Baig, a member of the Senate's sports committee, said that by delaying the implementation of the constitution Ashraf is behaving exactly like his predecessor Shaharyar Khan.

"Shaharyar also made promises but never fulfilled them," said the outspoken Baig who added that the PCB ad-hoc committee does not seem interested in implementing the new constitution.

"It seems that the current system in the board that is being run on ad-hoc basis perfectly suits the people running the national cricket affairs because they enjoy absolute powers without any accountability," said Baig.

The Senator said that it is important for Pakistan cricket that the board has a proper, functional constitution in place as it would empower the district associations and would make things better at the grassroots level.

He said that the PCB is yet to send a copy of the new constitution to the Senate committee. "I believe that the board should make the amended constitution public because cricket is a national pastime in this country and people are entitled to know how the game is run here," he said.

Baig said that the board should take proper input from its member associations and also take a feedback from the general public on the new constitution.

Cricket has been run on an ad-hoc basis in Pakistan for the last seven years, since when two PCB chiefs as well as the current chairman have given countless assurances that the board will implement a new constitution as soon as possible.

Ashraf promised to have the PCB constitution in place soon after taking over as chairman last October, setting January 1, 2007, as the deadline. Later, he extended it to January 31.