Pakistan news

Court order clears road for Zaka Ashraf return

Umar Farooq

May 17, 2014

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Chaos and the PCB

  • May 8 - Zaka Ashraf becomes the PCB's first elected chairman
  • May 28 - The Islamabad High Court bars Ashraf from dispensing his duties, following questions over the legality of his appointment
  • June 13 - High Court upholds Ashraf's suspension at a subsequent hearing and orders the PCB to name an interim chairman
  • June 19 - Key decisions are in the lurch, including an MoU that needs to be signed for Pakistan to tour the West Indies for a limited-over series in July
  • June 23 - Najam Sethi is named PCB's interim chairman
  • July 20 - High Court overrules all major decisions taken by Sethi and orders the Election Commission to conduct fresh elections for the chairman post
  • July 24 - PCB files appeal against High Court decision
  • September 28 - The ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) names Amir Tariq Zaman Khan the PCB secretary - a role not defined in the PCB constitution - in compliance with the High Court order
  • October 15 - Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif dissolves the PCB governing board and forms a five-member interim management committee headed by Sethi
  • October 21 - Islamabad High Court sets November 2 as the deadline for Election Commission to fill the chairman post
  • November 4 - High Court says Sethi commission can continue working, stays election process
  • November 17 - Sethi raises conflict-of-interest questions by interviewing Misbah-ul-Haq on his political show Aapas ki Baat
  • December 17 - High Court reserves judgment on PCB appeal against July 20 ruling
  • January 15 - High Court reinstates Zaka Ashraf as PCB chairman
  • February 10 - Najam Sethi returns as PCB chairman, after the patron of the board, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, dismissing the chairman Zaka Ashraf once again and dissolving the board of governors
  • May 14 - Zaka Ashraf comes under a cloud after an internal audit by the PCB covering his 22-month span as chairman reveals a staggering level of financial extravagance
  • May 17 - The Islamabad High Court dismisses the order issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 10 that removed Zaka Ashraf as chairman, paving the way for his return

The Islamabad High Court has dismissed the order issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, on February 10 that removed Zaka Ashraf as the chairman of the board and formed an eight-member committee led by Najam Sethi. The natural consequence of the court order would be that Ashraf is back at the helm of affairs. The detailed court order, likely on Monday, will further clarify the bigger picture.

"We were not the petitioner but we were made a party of various petitions against Najam Sethi for termination of dozens of employees," Ashraf's laywer, Affan Kundi, told ESPNcricinfo. "Wrapping up the various petitions, the judge suspended the SRO issued by PM on February 10. And the natural legal interpretation suggests that Zaka Ashraf is back as chairman. I am not sure if there is any other interpretation but meanwhile this is the best understanding of the judge's remarks."

"This is a win for Pakistan cricket," Ashraf said. "I will try to correct the wrong things in Pakistan cricket and do whatever is good for Pakistan cricket."

Sethi, however, said the judgement will be "challenged vigourously and swiftly". His committee had been working to "professionalise" the PCB, he said, and he would strive to not let the work it had done go to waste. "Two ex-Supreme Court judges submitted a draft of a democratic PCB constitution to the federal government last week," he said. "I wrote to the government to vet it, promulgate it and hold PCB chairman and board elections before June 9, the cut-off date given in the SRO appointing the management committee.

"But the court neither gave our lawyers a chance to defend the SRO or put our electoral plan in action. This judgment will be challenged vigourously and swiftly and the good steps we took to professionalise and invigourate cricket and clean-up the PCB will not be allowed to go in vain."

On February 10, Sharif superseded Ashraf-led governing board and directed a management committee to pick a PCB chairman from among its eight members. The committee chose Najam Sethi, who has acted as interim chairman while Ashraf was suspended in 2013 by the same court. Sethi has been working as the PCB chairman, leading the eight-member adhoc management committee that also included Shahriyar Khan (former PCB chairman), Zaheer Abbas (former Pakistan captain), Naveed Akram Cheema (chief secretary, Punjab), Shakeel Sheikh (former member of PCB board of governors), Yousaf Naseem Khokhar (former member of PCB board of governors), Iqbal Qasim (former cricketer), Ijaz Chaudary (IPC secretary).

Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi, heading the single-member bench at IHC, was the judge hearing petitions against the PCB challenging the termination of a number of employees in the board, including that of former chief selector Mohammad Ilyas. Although Ashraf was not the petitioner, he was made a party to it.

In the last 12 months, Ashraf had been removed as the PCB chairman twice. He was suspended in May 2013 by the Islamabad High Court after it ruled he had been elected via a "dubious" and "polluted" process. However, after a complicated legal process, he was reinstated by the same court on January 15 this year before Sharif dismissed him again on February 10.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

RSS Feeds: Umar Farooq

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 8:53 GMT)

What a musical chair going on in PCB, absolutely rubbish. BTW I am glad that Zaka Ashraf is the chairman now, he is the much much better choice than Najam Sethi. Sethi has nothing to do with Pakistan Cricket, he should just concentrate on his news media work.

Posted by ziazai on (May 19, 2014, 3:50 GMT)

Waqar Younis is a very good choice for head coach but the process through which he selected is wrong that is why the process should be restarted again even he may selected again. Secondly, Grant Flower has no track record and why we need to see again and again to the foreign coaches even as assistant coach or at some other position? If they had to select Grant Flower then why they removed Dave Watmore, his contract could also be extended. PCB and the officials should think again in the interest of cricket that the way Pakistani coaches can serve no one can do, there are lots of successful examples in the world where Pakistani players are coaching other teams.

Posted by spellbinder76 on (May 18, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

Mr. Zaka Ashraf must honor all decisions taken by Najm Sethi like cooperation with ICC and India. All contracts that are issued specially the one to Grant Flower and Waqar Younus must not be revoked. The pay rise given to cricketers should not be taken back. But before ll that Zaka Ashraf must meet the PM.

Posted by aamirrath on (May 18, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

and the beat goes court kicks one out the and the other restates. A sad state of affairs. Someone needs to step down for the sake of the game , this cant go on..........

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (May 18, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

using SRO for Governance .. Mian Nawaz Sharif way of running things ... Najam Sethi should go back to his day job ... let someone independent run this board .. there are too many things to fix and a political appointee can not do it

Posted by Danish-h on (May 18, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

i am not a supporter of Mr. Najam Sethi but at least give time to someone.. this is pathetic.

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 4:16 GMT)

good decision ... sanity prevails

Posted by   on (May 17, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

World Cup 2015 is almost near but we still dont know who will be the final capt of team and who will take charge of Chairman's seat in next coming days. Players are confused, whom to follow? Zaka Ashraf or Najam Sethi? The music chair game should be over asap otherwise cricket will go down forever.

Posted by android_user on (May 17, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

Great job well done

Posted by PlayfromDallas on (May 17, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

Comedy, comedy - I see 'M' common in Modi and Mohsin, their stars are in full swing. I see Mohsin is coming back as Coach. Prime Minister Elect Modi will be swearing in soon. Now, Mr. Zaheer and Mr. Alam will be uncomfortable of jumping guns in the coach selection process, this issue will also gain momentum i.e. advantage to Mohsin. Just to be clear Zaheer and Intekhab are fine human beings and Pakistan's cricket stalwarts only their coach selection process will come under criticism. I would suggest Mohsin to call Mr. Modi and congratulate him; way to go Mohsin …

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