Pakistan news July 24, 2013

PCB to appeal High Court judgement

The PCB has decided, in principle, to file an intra-court appeal with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the judgement passed by the same court, which had earlier called for fresh elections for the chairman of the PCB and overruled all major decisions taken by the interim chairman Najam Sethi. The Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, Government of Pakistan (IPC), another respondent in the petition, has also filed an appeal against the judgement. The PCB was concerned that the judgement would impact its daily functioning and issues such as team selection, annual budget and television broadcast deals, which are yet to be finalised.

The 30-page judgement, filed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, has asked for drastic changes in the structure of the PCB, and questioned the appointment of the selection committee, as well as its financial and recruitment affairs. The judge ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to carry out the election of the PCB chairman, directed the federal government to appoint a District Management Group (DMG) officer as the PCB secretary, and also reduced the powers of the president of Pakistan, also the patron of the PCB. All major decisions can only be taken by the full-time chairman, who should be elected by October 18.

"The judgement of the learned single Judge may result in gridlock for the PCB in matters such as electoral college and criteria for selection committees, specifically team selection for the tours of Zimbabwe, Singapore and South Africa (home series in UAE), all of which are before the end of October," the PCB said in a statement.

"PCB has today decided in principle to file an Intra-Court appeal against the judgement of Islamabad High Court passed in Writ Petition No.2242/2013 titled Maj (R) Ahmad Nadeem Sadal v. Federation of Pakistan Etc. as perusal of the detailed judgment received by PCB on 22-07-2013 reflects finding on such points of law and facts and administration which were neither part of the pleading, nor were argued by any party before the Court, and may potentially bring to standstill the day-to-day functioning of the PCB."

With the suspension of the former chairman Zaka Ashraf, the IHC had directed the government to name an interim chairman, with the prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointing Sethi. But the court overruled all of Sethi's decisions taken over the last month, leaving the PCB in a fix.

"The acting chairman appointed by the prime minister of Pakistan needs to effectively manage the affairs of the PCB as noted above until the election of a permanent chairman, for which no clear direction has been given in the judgement," the PCB said. "Therefore, the PCB is left with no other option but to appeal the said judgement."

The PCB is yet to finalise a broadcasting deal after its five-year contract with TEN Sports, worth $140 million, ended last month. Of immediate importance are the two forthcoming home series in the UAE against South Africa and Sri Lanka.

"The PCB needs to conclude arrangements for media broadcasting agreements related to its cricketing itinerary, which has expired and for which tenders are required to be floated on an urgent basis, failing which the PCB will suffer colossal monetary losses.

"The judgment also raises concerns with regard to the ICC's guidelines on non-intervention of the government in the administrative affairs of the PCB in so far as it directs the federal government to appoint a DMG officer as secretary of the PCB and the same may be argued against directing the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold the elections in PCB."

The judgement will not affect the Pakistan team currently in the West Indies for a limited-overs series. The PCB, in general, has been seized and will remain so till the newly elected chairman takes office. One of Sethi's major decisions was appointing former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan as the chairman of selectors, but as per the court's ruling, Moin's appointment stands cancelled.

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