ISLAMABAD - Two separate petitions challenging the decision of federal government to appoint Najam Sethi as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman and dissolving the governing board of PCB were filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Tuesday.

The two petitions were moved by Abdullah Tahir and Ahmad Nawaz Khan and challenged the decision of federal government while a single bench of IHC comprising Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will hear the petition of Abdullah Tahir on Wednesday (today). One of the petitioners, Abdullah cited PCB’s Patron in Chief/Prime Minister through principal secretary, Secretary Establishment Division, PCB chairman Najam Sethi, Zaka and Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA) president Shakeel Sheikh as respondents and prayed to the court to set aside the appointment of Sethi as acting PCB chairman.

He contended that unfortunately in Pakistan the cricket has been defamed due to the inefficient and mismanagement in the PCB. Already the conviction of Pakistani Test players in spot fixing cases had greatly damaged the integrity of Pakistan cricket team. Petitioner argued that this was due to the wrong and political based policies of selecting cricketers from the grass root level up to the international level and negligence to manage and impart training and education to the players in the PCB academy by the senior management. He maintained that in order to clean up the politics in cricket, International Cricket Council (ICC) had taken a decision at its full council meeting in Hong Kong to amend the ICC Constitution to provide for the important principle of free elections and the independence of member boards. Abdullah stated that the ICC had thus resolved to ban political appointments in cricket boards. The reform would entitle the ICC to suspend a member country in the event of Government interference in the running of a national cricket board.

He added that Sethi has again been appointed as interim chairman of PCB who had also worked as caretaker chief minister of Punjab province and has been appointed interim head by same Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Petitioner was of the view that Sethi does not fulfil the pre-requisites to be appointed as PCB chairman. He is a well-known journalist and cannot concentrate in the affairs of the cricket problems. He added that Sethi is absolutely unaware of with the sports of cricket. It, therefore, respectfully prayed that the appointment of Sethi be declared as illegal under provisions of the PCB constitution.

The second petitioner Ahmad Nawaz Khan has also prayed to the court to set aside the appointment of Sethi. In his petition, he made federation of Pakistan through secretary sports, patron in chief, ministry of IPC, Sethi and member management committee PCB Sheharyar Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Naveed Akram Cheema, Shakeel Sheikh, Yousaf Nadeem Khokhar and Iqbal Qasim as respondents. He contended that an IHC division bench reinstated Zaka as PCB chairman while the federal government then challenged the same before Supreme Court of Pakistan and later withdrew the appeal. Petitioner contended that the impugned notification is person specific and for the purpose of appointing Sethi as PCB chairman against the judgment and orders passed by this court. Ahmad told the court that the suppression of the PCB and dissolving of governing board as well as removal of the PCB chairman is against the Constitution of PCB. He further said that the impugned notification issued by the federal government is without lawful authority as the IHC division bench had held that the President is patron in chief of the PCB and if the Government is willing to change the Patron in Chief then the separate SRO/notification is necessary while no such notification has been issued.

Petitioner said that as per the law and constitution of the PCB, the direction/guidelines issued by the ICC are binding and the impugned notification is against the guideline of the ICC for non-intervention of political influence in the cricket. He continued that the impugned notification is undemocratic and is just a martial law imposed by the federal government. This petition will be fixed for hearing before an IHC bench on Thursday.