The Sindh High Court (SHC) deferred the hearing against the petition filed by former captain Shahid Afridi till June 16, which means that the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) sanctions on the all-rounder stand till that date.
The PCB lawyer chose technical grounds to argue for more time to file responses to the issues raised in Afridi’s petition before the bench agreed to his request and in proceedings that barely took a minute or two, adjourned the hearing.
The bench also declined the request by Afridi’s lawyer to order the PCB to not rescind the permission granted to Afridi to play abroad.
Afridi, who filed a petition against the decision of the board revoking his NOC to play in foreign leagues and suspension of his central contract, has been allowed, however to seek compensatory damages from the PCB.
This means that the all-rounder will not be able play for Hampshire with whom he had signed a contract for a Twenty20 stint this summer.
The PCB punished Afridi for the way the 31-year-old reacted to being removed from captaincy by announcing his retirement through media and speaking out against the board. Afridi had cited unfair treatment by the PCB and said that his decision to retire will stand until the board’s set-up changed.
The PCB followed up the outburst by imposing sanctions on the cricketer and forming a three-member disciplinary committee to probe the case before Afridi took the matter to the SHC.
The SHC, on Tuesday, stayed the internal disciplinary proceedings against the cricketer and summoned the PCB to appear in a hearing that was held yesterday.
Afridi’s lawyer, who was left fuming at the deferment, argued that the NOC was granted to Afridi “unconditionally”.
‘PCB wants to damage his career’
Syed Ali Zafar, who represented Afridi, accused the PCB lawyers of applying delaying tactics to damage the former captain’s career.
“We went to argue on the case but the PCB lawyers only came to seek an extension,” Zafar told The Express Tribune.
“As soon as the hearing began they pleaded for more time which resulted in the deferment.
“They wanted the hearing put off till August and it was only after our request that the court allowed only a week’s time to them.”
He said that these ploys are an indication that the board wants to keep him away from playing cricket.
Zafar added it would be his utmost priority to argue the issue of NOC in the next hearing. However, Zafar was satisfied that the court allowed Afridi to seek the compensatory damages.
“It was a positive development for us as we will be able to claim the huge financial loss which Afridi may suffer due to withdrawal from overseas events.” WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY Zeeshan Mujahid
PCB opposed petition at SHC
Meanwhile, the PCB lawyer Talib Rizvi, who accompanied Tafazzul Rizvi at the hearing, said that the board was against Afridi filing a petition in the SHC.
He said that the matter should have been dealt with at the Lahore High Court (LHC).
“The petition should have been filed at the LHC,” said Talib.
However, he added that the PCB’s main objective was to protect its policies and the legal battle was about earning their right of holding an internal disciplinary hearing that was stayed by the SHC earlier.
“Everyone associated with the PCB has to go through the same process. They have to appear before the internal disciplinary committee and Afridi should have followed the same procedure. This has been the practice for a long time and should remain this way.
“No one is above the law and we will argue this in the next hearing,” said Talib.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.
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