Pakistan news May 28, 2013

High Court suspends Ashraf as PCB chairman


The Islamabad High Court has ordered the suspension of Zaka Ashraf, the head of Pakistan's cricket board, over what it called the "dubious" and "polluted" process to elect him.

Ashraf, the PCB chairman, was ordered to "refrain from exercising his power within his incumbency" till the court's next hearing on June 13.

The court was responding to a petition filed by a former Rawalpindi Cricket Association official against the Pakistan board's elections that were held earlier this month - through which Ashraf was elected to a four-year term as chairman.

"The petitioner has a good arguable case in his favour, as entire process of election of PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf appeared to be motivated and polluted," Justice Shaukat Siddiqui said.

PCB's legal representative Tafuzul Rizvi in response told ESPNcricinfo that the board will assist the court during the next hearing. "We will present the facts before the court and after that any decision will be followed in letter and spirit," Rizvi said.

The board of governors meeting and the AGM that was scheduled to take place in Karachi on May 28 and 29 has been postponed in wake of the court's decision. The board however will continue to function without a chairman in the interim.

In more bad news for the PCB, five top regional associations - Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad and Sialkot - have also revolted against Ashraf, alleging a fallacious electoral process. The five associations, presently dismissed by the PCB, constituted an interim committee to run the city associations.

There are two more petitions relating to the election pending against the PCB - one in the Lahore High Court, and the other in the Sindh High Court that was filed by former wicketkeeper Rashid Latif. The petition in the Sindh High Court is scheduled to come up for hearing on Wednesday.

Ashraf was elected in the first week of May, under the new PCB constitution that replaced the system of appointing the PCB chairman by the patron of the board, the president of Pakistan. It was the first election of a PCB chairman.

He was one of the two candidates - the other being former Lahore Stock Exchange chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan - recommended by the patron and then interviewed by the nomination committee. The committee then unanimously recommended Ashraf for the chairman's post, before the board of governors unanimously endorsed him.

As per the new constitution, the board of governors was restructured to include ten members - five regional representatives on the basis of rotation and five representatives of service organisations and departments - with voting rights. Of the ten, PCB was able to appoint nine, all of whom voted in favour of Ashraf's nomination. However, there was no representation from Punjab, Pakistan's largest province with 60% of country's population, while two new regions without any first-class team - Larkana and Dera Murad Jamali - were drafted in to the board.

The process was conducted without any prior announcement, the PCB revealing the appointment through a press release.

The PCB's new constitution was produced as a result of the 2011 ICC directive, which required 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. However, in November 2012, the ICC said it was reviewing its stance against government involvement in the administration of cricket.

Ashraf has been the PCB's chairman since 2011, previously working under the old constitution, under which he was appointed for an indefinite period by the patron, President Asif Ali Zardari.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    How do you measure performance? One way is to compare it with history.

    Is Zaka doing a better job than Ijaz?

    I believe so, i think he has done that impeccably considering the spaghetti left by incumbent.

    Guys, you need to realize that you don't need to be a cricketer to run an organization. Skills are different.

    I respect Rashid Latif as a player.

    Again, unless there is someone out there that can / would be able out perform Zaka, we should keep him.

  • Azim on May 31, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    No matter how well Zaka Ashraf has done, if his selection as PCB chairman has constitutional wrong doing involved then his selection is period wrong! please don't give any justification, thanks.

  • Avais on May 30, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    The way Zaka got himself "elected" was wrong and laughable, I'm glad someone took notice of it. A man who has no cricketing background could be appointed but unlikely to be elected in fair elections.

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Well there is no doubt that this man did a hell job for the betterment of cricket not just for Pakistan but he is an example for all other countries too. A great man. but if he is not following the constitute , He must be punished No matter how good he is . Law is equal for all.

  • Bobby on May 29, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    I am with GetSetGoPk on this one: Zaka is a very capable chairman. Ijaz Butt inflicted an immense damage to Pakistan cricket on the field and outside the field. i do realise that Zaka's political masters might not be in favour anymore, however, who else is the better choice. Zaka is shrewed and he has made some good calculated moves. Pakistan is not depending on Indian tours anymore. Pakistani players are playing in Sri Lankan and Carrbian leagues. Pakistan has a safe captain in Misbah. Pakistan is in news now a days only because of good things...A bad administrator can ruin the brand. An example is IPL and BCCI. Rashid Latif is a very passionate man and I have always admired him, however, perhaps it is time that he goes to Afghanistan and continues his coaching there. Zakar Asharf has earned a lot of respect and he should be allowed to continue. Pakistan has one of best suited attacks in English conditions and it is time to win against in England!

  • Amjad on May 29, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Im just amazed to see some of the most ignorant comments made by the Pak supporters here. Just take a break and understand what has just happened here. Our cricket team is away on one of the most prestigious ODI tournament after the WC and back home the chief of PCB has been sacked. What if someone asks Misbah or any other player in a press conference to 'shed a bit of light' on whats going on in Pak cricket, what will these players feel? Now morale has shattered long before the actual thing begins. Did Latif thought one bit about the timing of this action, apparently not. And what was he doing all this time, its been a month or more since those elections and he's filing a petition now? How about filing a petition after the CT? And lastly administration and cricket are two different things. A good cricket is not guarenteed to become a good cricket administrator, e.g Ijaz Butt played test cricket for Pak, Zaka never played. A good cricketer isn't even guaranteed to become a good coach.

  • Asim on May 29, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    The same person who appointed ijaz butt appointed zaka ashraf so how can he be better than ijaz butt. The chairman Pcb should always be a former cricketer and what does Zaka Ashraf knows about cricket. Pakistan crickef furthur declined in his tenure by poor selection and poor old captain and instead of trying to bring cricket back to pakistan he furthur made things worst by fighting with boards which were previously friends with pakistan e.g bangladesh.

  • Ning-nong on May 29, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    I have always had a lot of time for Rashid Latif, he spoke out against corruption and match fixing, at a time when many joined in or held their silence. Howeve he also remains a person continously opposed, and that can also be disruptive in this case (although not entirely his doing). Just before the Champions Trophy the PCB Chairman has been suspended, also this sends a horrible message to other nations that may have been impressed with what Mr Ashraf has done since taking over from the incompetent Mr Butt, one of the things that really has impressed during his tenure is that he has remained proactive, and much was done in the light spot fixing and returning international cricket to Pakistan shores. I like how the preparation for the CT has been given emphasis with warm-up games to allow for player acclimatisation (not being involved in IPL also allowed for this). So my message would be support Ashraf, he seems to be doing right for the cause!

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    Why can't Pakistan stop mixing Cricket and Politics together. The timing of this couldn't have been worse then if they tried. I expect Nawaz Sharif to pick one of his relative to become the new chairman of the PCB.