The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) recent spat refused to abate, so much so that the Interior Minister had to step in to calm both institutions and ask them to cooperate. Both sides do have merits to their arguments.

The PCB on its part, is correct in pointing out that it must first complete investigations, which will be looking at this from a disciplinary perspective, while any government-sanctioned investigative agency will be looking to begin criminal investigations and proceedings. This comes later. However, if the PCB cannot be seen to be actively pursuing the case, investigative agencies ought to step in and take over.

Principally, it is the responsibility of the organisational body related to any sport to carry out investigations when necessary. Player conduct, corruption and other forms of misdemeanours first need to be analysed by the overarching sporting body in question – in the case of Pakistani cricket, it is obviously the PCB that must take charge. The ICC code of conduct and PCB’s own rules and procedures allow for investigations to be carried out on the basis of spot-fixing (and subsequent punishments), which is why the FIA’s separate investigation at this point, is redundant. Any criminal proceedings that must take place can only come after PCB has played its role.

As stated by former Chairman PCB Najam Sethi, PCB has not requested for the FIA to step in and carry out a parallel investigation, only to verify the authenticity of documents related to the case, which means that the FIA does not need to start investigations of its own as of yet.

However, FIA is well within its rights to start criminal investigations on its own, but doing so without bringing PCB into confidence is damaging for the cricket regulatory body, as it sends out a negative message regarding its ability to counter corruption. By sidelining the PCB through starting parallel investigations, the FIA is essentially stating that the PCB cannot be trusted to do this job. The investigative body must look to dispel this notion; after all, both institutions are working with the same end goal in mind and play for the same team.

There needs to be greater understanding and cohesion between various government departments and organisations. Investigating claims of corruption or spot-fixing within the team is PCB’s responsibility first, and after it has concluded its own investigations, criminal proceedings can be initiated. Until then, the FIA must learn to fall into line and provide the right kind of support.