I was planning to write something on this issue but couldn’t gather facts what to talk about. Finally, I tried to put forward my analysis. I have been an admirer of the Imran Khan’s verdict that committee and board of governors should appoint the PCB chief. Furthermore, I couldn’t agree more that any decision about an institution by the PM or political people is an affluence of the political will or motivation. However, did Khan project that in his acts? Anyone who read my articles and are aware about my un-biased approach, I never interfere my political inclination let my preference to influence my cognitive assessment. I have supported and upheld to the recent decisions of PTI (newly formed government). However, bear with me this time, I am disappointed, so my write-up might sound different.
Let’s forget whether Ehsan Mani is a perfect fit for the position of chief or Najam Sethi destroyed cricket, as we will come to that point latter. Let’s do analytical check on Khan’s decision.
In General Elections 2013, PTI claimed the “35 punctures” issue. You might not be aware of this phrase as it was a conspiracy that demised shorty due to the spade of terrorist attacks and other bigger issues that became the constant attention of the mainstream media. However, English daily highlighted that with a brief overview. This conspiracy started when Naemul Haq (The Chief of Staff to the PTI Chairman) accused Najam Sethi – who was then only a former ambassador and had remarkable accomplishments in journalism – on the fixing of constituencies as PTI cried foul and raised the rigging issue.
The issue hyped on twitter, when a PTI leader left a tweet that spread like a storm. The claim was very serious in nature as it was alleged that there is a phone call record in the possession of a key ambassador from a western country. Although the ambassador clarified that no any person, even from PTI has listened to that phone call, yet Sethi didn’t deny that clearly rather went with a traditional approach of suing the accusers.
If we assess that time, everything coincided – an issue was popping out, one after another. From tweets to accusations on Sethi and him being reconsidered for PCB chief position. If one is aware of the situation, it is obvious that PTI had no issue with this gentleman; however, after the spree of the news of Sethi becoming the chief, this neutrality from PTI changed to allegations and unwelcoming gesture for Sethi. Further, in a democratic fashion, the broadcast-media did listen to the claims of PTI and discussed over it in a proper manner. Sadly, the response was shocking as it was not an informed issue across the board of PTI because when asked from Makhdoom Javed, he wasn’t aware a bit of it. Not only from clarification point of view, he didn’t even know the accusations that were imposed by PTI on Sethi.
Anyways, the then PTI chairman and the current honorable PM of Pakistan, showed resentment and tweeted to free the decision, especially over institutional bodies, from any political affluence. He further added, “[…] because here PM appoints PCB Chief”. Everyone applauded and appreciated, because exactly, that’s how it should be.
Afterwards, on several occasions Khan criticized Najam Sethi, his credibility, and his decision-making skills. However, Najam Sethi didn’t solemnly take part in the rebuttals. At that time, I wasn’t sure why? Now, reading through the resignation by Sethi, I feel as if he was surely waiting for Imran Khan to become the PM.
He first reminded everyone that he was not “appointed” or “selected”, rather he was unanimously elected by all ten members of the Board of Governors in 2017. It poses a question, had he been a wrong choice, why would BoG have re-appointed him via proper channel, “elections”? Since people say that PTI won again in KPK because they performed, I would like to know similar contrast in Sethi’s case.
Najam Sethi resigned. It was, apart from the political decision, the first kind of ideological decision by PM Imran Khan, if not the most. However, he seemed to confuse the people, especially me. At first, he tweeted a clear “appointment” of Ehsan Mani. When people started criticizing it whilst comparing the decision with his earlier approach, he tweeted again and defended it as “nominated”. I would leave the thesaurus of both words before you to judge. Because, judging from Merriam-Webster dictionary, my decision might ruin the taste of many.
It is not the first of its kind: the deviant decision of Imran Khan from his set principles, it is surely the unique, if not the prominent, and most resonated one in “Naya Pakistan”.
Now, lets come to the comparison. Najam Sethi didn’t get popularity because of him becoming the CM of Punjab or emerged in politics, his popularity and contributions in journalism cannot be erased. International Freedom Award, Golden Pen of Freedom, and freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers, and Hilal-e-Imtiaz speak volume of his unmatchable contributions to the press and its freedom. It is sad reality that people are often derogated by conspiracies, if nothing sound proof is found. Furthermore, Cricket as an institution, when handed over to him, was not in a good condition. One should admit that it gained some momentum. Players like Sarfaraz and others emerged in his era. Shouldn’t we appreciate that merit-based system? On the other hand, the capabilities of Ehsan Mani cannot be denied as well, he is also a competitive person for this position. However, the issue is not about who is the best, the question is how one should be assigned a position. I am happy to see the Ehsan Mani showed the openheartedness and praised the contributions of Najam Sethi.
Now, that the PM has decided to go with the word “nomination”, let’s hope this is the final pronouncement. However, I anticipate such confusion does not happen in future.