Pakistan news October 31, 2013

PCB without chairman until next court ruling

The PCB's ongoing legal existential crisis took another twist on Thursday when it emerged that Najam Sethi and the five-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) remain effectively suspended, until at least after the weekend. That meant, after a bizarre couple of days, that there was no current board chairman or any kind of body running board affairs.

The confusion over the status of Sethi and the board first appeared on October 28, when Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court suspended Sethi at 9am for not complying with an earlier legal order issued by Justice Siddiqui to elect a permanent chairman for the PCB by October 18. However at 12.30pm on the same day, the board's lawyers argued successfully to a different two-judge bench at the same court on the same case to maintain the status quo - that is, Sethi and the IMC - at least temporarily. The judges agreed in court to do so until November 4, this Monday. It was widely reported, that Sethi and the current administration were operational until Monday at least.

But the written order of this judgement, released today, refers to no such conclusion, leaving those officials in the board who received it, baffled. Various PCB officials confirmed to ESPNcricinfo, as a result, that the chairman and the IMC stood suspended based on Justice Siddiqui's morning order of October 28 and that the chairman had not handled office matters over the last couple of days.

In his order Justice Siddiqui also said that a former Supreme Court judge, Justice Munir Shaikh, would be the chairman of a committee that was ordered to hold an election for a board chairman by the last week of November. He ordered that the day-to-day affairs of the board, in the meantime, be handled by the PCB secretary he imposed on the board in yet another earlier ruling, a high-ranking official from the Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC).

Sethi was appointed interim chairman of the PCB in June 2013 - for a 90-day period - after the IHC suspended former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf over questions about the legality of the elections conducted to appoint him. In July, the court set a deadline of October 18 for the PCB to hold fresh elections for the chairman.

Sethi failed to hold those elections and instead, on October 15 just before the deadline, the prime minister of Pakistan - the new patron of the PCB according to the court - Nawaz Sharif, dissolved the governing board of the PCB, and formed a five-member IMC to administer cricket. Sethi along with former chairman Shahryar Khan, former players Zaheer Abbas and Haroon Rasheed and former team manager Naved Cheema were named to the committee.

A final resolution of this long-running drama, one that has left the board in an administrative limbo, is now expected on Monday when the next appeal hearing is scheduled.

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