Pakistan news January 31, 2014

Pakistan government withdraws petition against Zaka Ashraf

The Pakistan Cricket Board's legal tussle with the state government came to a conclusion after the government withdrew its petition against Zaka Ashraf's return as PCB chairman from the Supreme Court. The Ministry of Inter-Provincial Co-ordination (IPC) had earlier challenged the verdict of the Islamabad High Court which re-instated Ashraf as PCB chairman in January.

In its appeal, the IPC had argued that the Interim Management Committee of the PCB - set up after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dissolved the governing board of the PCB - had superseded Ashraf's incumbency and therefore Ashraf had no legal position to take charge of the board again.

The Supreme Court had accepted the petition for hearing on Monday but had refrained from taking the case ahead and suggested that the government exercise its authority to initiate changes within the PCB. In the second hearing on Friday, the IPC decided to drop its appeal against Ashraf.

"We have withdrawn our appeal against Ashraf's reinstatement," IPC legal advisor, Irfan Ullah said. "As per the constitution, the government can exercise its powers (to appoint a new chairman) without prejudicing the orders of the Islamabad High Court."

In May 2013, Ashraf became the first elected PCB chairman for a period of four years under a new constitution. He was suspended a few weeks later following questions over the legality of his appointment. Under the amended constitution, only the Chief Patron of the PCB, the Prime Minister of the country, could remove the chairman only on the basis of financial irregularities. The constitution does not allow no-confidence motions to be raised against the PCB chairman.

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