Supreme Court orders new PCB election
Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the PCB to conduct an election for the chairman's post. In a hearing on Monday, the court directed current PCB chairman Najam Sethi to continue in his post for seven days before the appointment of an election commissioner and an acting chairman, who will be responsible for conducting the election. The PCB has also been directed to implement its new constitution.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case in Lahore. The hearing went on for five hours before the bench wrapped up the case. During the hearing, Sethi informed the court he has no intention of contesting the new election for the chairmanship, but he could hold a position in the new governing board, which is likely to be formed soon.
The Supreme Court set aside an earlier High Court order that had reinstated Zaka Ashraf as PCB chairman. The apex court dismissed an order from the Islamabad High Court in May this year that had restored Ashraf to the chairman's position in the Pakistan board. The Pakistan government appealed against the Islamabad High Court's decision and the matter finally ended up in the Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court has set a side the High Court order according to which Zaka Ashraf was reinstated," Irfanullah Khan, the government's legal advisor, told ESPNcricinfo. "The government will appoint an interim chairman and election commissioner in seven days to implement the new constitution."
The Supreme Court's verdict is the latest event in the PCB's ongoing turmoil, which dates back to May 2013. Last year, Ashraf became the PCB's first elected chairman, but shortly after he took office, the Islamabad High Court - responding to a petition filed by a former Rawalpindi Cricket Association official - suspended him, calling the election process "dubious and polluted".
In June 2013, the court upheld Ashraf's suspension and later that month Sethi, a senior journalist and former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, was named the interim PCB chairman by the government of Pakistan. The very next month, the Islamabad court directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to carry out polls for the PCB chairman's post by October 18 and overruled all major decisions taken by the Sethi administration.
The election, however, never took place and after a succession of legal developments - including the dissolution of the PCB's governing board in October and the formation of a five-man interim committee headed by Sethi to run Pakistan cricket - the Islamabad High Court reinstated Ashraf as PCB chairman in January this year.
In a familiar twist, however, the Patron of the Board, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, dismissed Ashraf and dissolved the board of governors. Sharif directed a management committee to pick a PCB chairman from among its eight members and it chose Sethi.
In May, Ashraf was reinstated for the second time in the year but lost his place to Sethi again within a couple of days. The developments set the stage for a protracted legal tussle within the board.
Earlier this month, the government decided to form a new constitution for the board and replaced Sethi at the helm with an interim arrangement. Sethi was reinstated a day later, as the Supreme Court struck down the decisions of the government and asked the PCB to return to status quo.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson