Sethi removal could be temporary
The long-term future of Najam Sethi as the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board will become clear on Friday, after another significant day of developments at the Supreme Court of Pakistan; the land's higher courts have been virtually a home address for the game over the last year.
On Thursday, Sethi was removed as the interim PCB chairman by the government that appointed him, in order to implement a new constitution. His removal, ostensibly, is a temporary one as he can return through constitutionally palatable means. The new constitution is the fourth separate one the board will have had since 1995, and one that Sethi's administration has been working on.
The Interim Management Committee that Sethi has been heading was also dissolved on the orders of the prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is a patron of the PCB. The Supreme Court, hearing a long-running case that through all its complexities has effectively been a power battle between the former chairman Zaka Ashraf and the government-backed Sethi, was informed today by the Attorney General of Pakistan of the developments. Jamshed Ali, a retired judge, was appointed for a period of 30 days to oversee the implementation of the new constitution and appointment of a chairman.
"The management committee shall cease to exit with immediate effect and shall be replaced by a new board as per Article of 10 of the new constitution of PCB," read the notification issued by the government. "As per Article 7(2) of new constitution of PCB election commissioner shall take over as chairman PCB and shall ensure conduct of election within 30 days form the date of assumption of the office of chairman PCB."
The plan is for Sethi to emerge from this latest bit of legal rumbling in a stronger position. Sethi is one of the men nominated for a position on the new board of governors, as called for in the new constitution. This new board, according to the constitution, will have ten representatives: four drawn from the departmental organisations of domestic cricket, four regional heads and two men nominated directly by the patron.
These ten men, each of whom have a vote and are eligible to contest the election, will appoint a chairman from among themselves. Sethi confirmed in a tweet that he had "been nominated by PM as a member of PCB Board of Governors eligible to contest election to post of Chairman." The other appointment by the prime minister is Karachi-based Iqbal Umar. An 11th member will be appointed by the government to the board, but in an ex-officio capacity and with no voting powers.
There is, however, a twist. During the hearing today, the judges expressed concern over the prime minister's choice of Sethi on the governing board and have asked the government to "reconsider" the nomination. The implications of that will only become clear on Friday, when the hearing resumes and presumably, the government has responded to the concerns. In the judges' remarks on Thursday, there seemed to be a suggestion that if Sethi's name was not reconsidered, then the case will resume anew and that the day's developments will again become null and void.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson