The appointment of former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, Najam Sethi, as acting chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board was challenged on Wednesday in the Islamabad High Court.
The 65-year-old senior journalist was appointed in the role by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government. The petitioner, Abdullah Tahir, an amateur cricketer and law graduate from London, filed the petition challenging his appointment as interim chairman of PCB, saying it was made on a ‘political basis’ which was in violation of the PCB constitution.
On June 22, the government appointed Sethi as interim chairman of the country’s cricket board after Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi of the IHC directed the ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination to appoint an acting chairman.
It is pertinent to mention that on May 28, Justice Siddiqi restrained Zaka Ashraf from performing his duties as chairman PCB in response to a petition filed by Major (retd) Ahmed Nadeem Suddle, the former coach of Army cricket who challenged the board elections held on May 8 that saw Ashraf voted as chairman.
The petitioner maintained that the International Cricket Council – the global governing body of the game – had also banned politically motivated appointments in member cricket boards to improve governance within the game. Despite that, the government still proceeded to appoint the former caretaker chief minister of Punjab as PCB chief.
Tahir said in his petition the game of cricket in Pakistan was facing many challenges at international level and there was dire need to appoint a professional official. “However Sethi is a non-professional, who does not have any relevant experience and he is not qualified for this post.”
According to the petition, the ICC had upgraded its standard in order to eradicate politics from cricket and the chief executive of the council had amended the constitution to appoint independent board members. He requested the court to declare illegal the appointment of Sethi and pass the order for the appointment of a person who had the knowhow of cricket.
Moreover, Tahir stated Transparency International Pakistan had already termed the appointment of Sethi unconstitutional and demanded his immediate removal.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2013.
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