Pakistan news November 7, 2013

Sethi committee gets extended run

A two-judge bench of Islamabad High Court heard arguments of the PCB and the petitioners on a judgment passed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui before adjourning the case till the first week of December. Till then, the bench said, the Najam Sethi-run Interim Management Committee in the PCB could continue to function.

The PCB is appealing the judgment passed by Justice Siddiqui that called for fresh elections to elect the board chairman. That judgement was itself a formal and full version of the order delivered on May 28 that ordered the suspension of Zaka Ashraf as PCB chairman over what it called the "dubious" and "polluted" process to elect him.

Today, the bench heard arguments by Ashraf's lawyer Afnan Karim Kundi for close to two hours. "The learned judge had no authority to legislate on the PCB constitution," Kundi said. "My client acted only to comply with the ICC direction. The [PCB] constitution was vetted by all the concerned departments of the government of Pakistan and he was elected according to the constitution."

The bench then asked the main petitioner, Ahmad Nadeem Sadal, to present his arguments. The judges asked Sadal - a former official of the Army Cricket Club in Rawalpindi - how he was an aggrieved party so as to file a petition and how his fundamental rights were affected by the PCB's actions. Sadal's lawyer argued that the petition was filed in the public interest.

Sadal's petition, and the court's response, has effectively derailed the PCB by throwing its daily functioning into confusion. The lack of administrative leadership forced it to sign a short-term broadcasting deal, affecting its major source of income, and cricket is currently being run on an interim annual budget.

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