Eighteen years after it was made public, and in the process of putting together its new cricket committee, the PCB appears to have disowned the Justice Qayyum Report on match-fixing. At the time it was released, in May 2000, the 150-page report by the former chief justice of Lahore High Court (Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum) was acknowledged as the most comprehensive report into corruption in Pakistani cricket.
But in putting together a committee that will be headed by Mohsin Khan and includes Wasim Akram as a member, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani appeared to cast doubt on the findings and recommendations of the report.
Akram was a leading figure in it, ultimately fined and censured by Justice Qayyum, as well as removed from the captaincy. Now he is part of a four-man committee with a wide remit into cricketing affairs, and even though it is an honorary position, it is the first time he has been appointed to an official PCB position since the Qayyum report.
Mohsin has long been sceptical about Akram and has been very vocal about not working with players he considers tainted by corruption. Before his appointment to the head of this committee, he had raised concerns about working with Akram. But he was briefed extensively by Mani and the PCB's chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad (who was a board official during that period) about the Qayyum report - to not read too much into it, it would appear.
"How many of you have read the Justice Qayuum report?" Mani asked in a press conference after meeting with Mohsin and Akram. "Mr Qayuum made some allegations, then said he would provide details of the allegations later.
"No one has ever seen those details since. Many people named in the report were acquitted thereafter and have gone on to coach around the world. Those countries who used these players' services undertook complete enquiries but found nothing that perturbed them."
That assessment would appear to be a skewed reading of the report. The allegations were not made by Justice Qayyum, but the focus of his judicial commission's investigations. Only in Mushtaq Ahmed's case was there a promise of further investigation, which ultimately was not carried out.
The claims that the players were acquitted seems generous. It is true that a number of them have worked in Pakistan and abroad in some capacity - the current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq was punished in the report; Mushtaq has held various positions in Pakistan and abroad. But they haven't been exonerated officially from the charges and punishments detailed in the report. Salim Malik's life ban was overturned by a sessions court in Lahore in 2008 and Ata-ur-Rehman's life ban was also revoked.
In the recent past, Mohsin has refused to apply for the role of Pakistan head coach specifically because he felt a tainted Akram should not be in a committee overseeing the hiring (as he was).
"You're right, for the past four or five years I haven't worked with the PCB for this reason," Mohsin said.
"But today, I spoke to Mr Mani and Subhan and received a huge clarification. They revealed that the allegations in the Qayuum report never brought forward those authentic proofs which are required. I'm not saying I'm 100% convinced, but I am 99% convinced. There is a difference between an accused and a criminal. After the clarifications I've received today, I'm very happy to realise there was no authenticity in the allegations, and I'm happy to work with the PCB now."
The Qayyum inquiry began in 1998 and continued for 13 months, with over 40 hearings held in court. The commission interviewed nearly 70 players, ex-players, administrators, bookies and police officers. The inquiry received positive initial reactions, for being the first instance of a board taking the matter of corruption as seriously as it merited.
Over time shortcomings were acknowledged, including those pointed out in the report itself - namely that it was hindered by a lack of what would pass as hard evidence in criminal cases. But there has remained recognition that it didn't shirk from going after some big names and went as deep into some cases as it could.
"The allegation that the Pakistan team is as a whole is involved in match-fixing is just based on allegation, conjectures and surmises without there being positive proof. As a whole, the players of the Pakistan Cricket team are innocent," the report opens.
The burden of proof for finding guilt ultimately fell somewhere between the standards required in criminal cases and civil ones. Reliant in large part on the spoken testimonies of some players against others - and this in an especially fractious period for the Pakistan team - the report banned Malik and Ata-ur-Rahman for life, fined Akram (Rs 300,000), Mushtaq (Rs 300,000), Waqar Younis (Rs 100,000), Inzamam-ul-Haq (Rs 100,000), Akram Raza (Rs 100,000), and Saeed Anwar (Rs 100,000).
The report added: "It may be recommended inter alia that a watchdog Review Committee be formed to deal with future allegations if any. Further that all Pakistani cricket players should declare their assets at the time they start their career at the national level and annually submit their asset forms to the Pakistan Cricket Board. A zero tolerance approach be taken against match-fixing in the future and strict discipline generally be maintained."
Akram has rarely spoken about the report but said on Friday: "It's very difficult, it was a long time ago, I only remember the whole episode vaguely. I remember the PCB lawyer questioning me for a whole month. They were very tough times for me, and for my family. It still is very tough. But as Mohsin and the chairman said, there is no conclusion there. The secondary report that was supposed to follow never did. The reason I've got jobs around the world is I do what I do with all my heart and give my all because my reputation is on line."
In the report Justice Qayyum said, "The evidence against Wasim Akram has not come up to the requisite level, primarily because of Ata-ur-Rehman's perjuring himself. This Commission is willing to give him the benefit of doubt. However, there has been some evidence to cast doubt on his integrity. As such, this Commission recommends that he be removed from the captaincy of the Pakistan Cricket Team and a person of impeccable character be appointed. Moreover, he should be censured, kept under watch and his finances should be investigated."
In 2006 Justice Qayyum told ESPNcricinfo that "a soft corner" for Akram might have influenced him in the punishment he handed out. That would imply, however, that Akram got off lightly rather than that there was no basis to the charges, as the PCB now seems to be suggesting.