LAHORE/ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday removed the country’s cricket chief Zaka Ashraf after suspending the constitution of the Board (PCB).
A notice from the prime minister, who is also patron of the PCB, confirmed Zaka’s removal. “Prime Minister has removed Zaka from his post as PCB chairman and has appointed a 11-man interim committee to run cricket affairs,” Irfanullah Khan, the lawyer for a body which runs sports affairs in Pakistan, said.
Meanwhile, Najam Sethi has been re-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman by the ad-hoc committee formed by the board’s patron Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif and a notification has been issued in this regard.
The eight-member ad-hoc management committee will hold its first formal meeting today (Tuesday) at the board’s headquarters. The committee unanimously gave a vote of confidence to Sethi as PCB’s chairman.
The ad-hoc committee includes Shahrayar Khan (ex-PCB chairman), Najam Sethi (ex-interim PCB chairman), Zaheer Abbas (ex-Pakistan captain), Naveed Akram Cheema (Punjab chief secretary), Shakeel Sheikh (ex-PCB board of governors member), Yousaf Naseem Khokhar (ex-PCB board of governors member), Iqbal Qasim (former cricketer) and Ijaz Chaudary (IPC secretary).
According to the old constitution, the patron could only supersede the PCB in case of ‘grave financial irregularities’. That clause was amended to be less specific and include more general mismanagement. According to paragraph 41 (before amendment), the patron, in the presence of sufficient evidence and being satisfied that grave financial irregularities exists in the board and that the board is dysfunctional, may by order in writing reasons, supersede the board and appoint an interim committee consisting of an administrator and as many members as deemed necessary for carrying out the functions of the Board.
But according to paragraph 41 (after amendment) “When the patron is of the opinion that the board is unable to perform its function properly in accordance with this constitution he may; by order in writing, supersede the board and constitute a management committee comprising up to 11 members, for performance of the functions of the board; Provided that upon an order of suspension the board of governance shall stand dissolved and chairman shall stand removed.”
It is quite interesting that after going through amendment in the PCB constitution, the aggrieved party was not given the rights to take this case to court of law. However according to Para 41-A, the person aggrieved by the order under Para 41 may file an appeal with patron within 30 days of the order. The patron may constitute a three-member committee to review the appeal, who will submit their report within 30 days while after receiving the report, the PM may decide within next 15 days about the fate.
The sources inside the board also confirmed that government had done its homework and it would be very difficult for Zaka to stage a comeback this time around. The sources also confirmed that there were enough evidences against Zaka, which would be more than handy to land him in the courts and in case Zaka tried to be over smart, then he must be ready for long hard legal battle.
Shakil Shaikh, a member of the management committee, told the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium that the Prime Minister in his capacity as PCB patron had acted within his powers. “Zaka Ashraf has been removed as the constitution has been suspended and we have selected Najam Sethi as the new Chairman. The managing committee will meet on Tuesday to further discuss and review the decisions taken by Ashraf,” he said. “Zaka has left Pakistan isolated in world cricket with his mishandling on the ‘Big-3’ issue,” he added.
Zaka has held the chairman’s post in the PCB since 2011 when the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was in power. President Asif Zardari had appointed Zaka as chairman of the PCB, but a single bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed him from the post in May 2013 after declaring his election process as malafide and polluted.
After this decision, the government, which had changed by then after the general elections with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) taking charge, appointed Sethi as the acting chairman. But Sethi was restrained by the court from exercising his full powers throughout his tenure and Ashraf was again reinstated as chairman last month by the IHC.
Zaka’s dismissal came just hours after he returned from Singapore after attending the ICC meeting where Pakistan abstained from voting on the governance and other changes in the world body pushed by India, Australia and England cricket boards.