Suspending the operation of Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) May 17 verdict, the Supreme Court on Wednesday restored Najam Sethi as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman.
Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination, through its counsel Asma Jahangir, on Tuesday filed an appeal against IHC’s January 17 judgment, wherein Zaka Ashraf was restored as PCB’s chairman. Ashraf has been ousted from the PCB’s top post for the third time.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, took up the government’s plea regarding the restoration of the PCB chairman and its management committee (MC).
Presenting arguments, government’s counsel Asma Jahangir said Najam Sethi was appointed as the PCB chairman by the prime minister, who is also the board’s patron-in-chief.
She said the high court’s judgments would ‘ruin the game of cricket’ as she termed the IHC verdict interference in the executive affairs.
Jahangir contended that the IHC had no jurisdiction to hear the case as PCB’s principal office was in Lahore, not in Islamabad.
“The respondent No1 Arbab Altaf Hussain is also not a resident of Islamabad nor the honorary services of Arbab were hired or terminated in Islamabad,” she said, adding the IHC was hearing 25 petitions related to the PCB while none of the petitioners lived in Islamabad.
“The impugned judgment has brought up a situation that will have long-term detrimental effect on the PCB, if not reversed promptly and it will ruin the game of cricket,” said the petition filed by the government.
The petitioner alleged that the restored PCB chairman Ashraf had already started a personal vendetta against professionals associated with the PCB.
“Therefore, the PCB could not be allowed to be treated as a personal fiefdom of any board of governors or its chairman.”
After hearing the arguments, the bench accepted the government’s petition for regular hearing and issued notices to all 13 respondents. The hearing of the case was adjourned until May 27.
It is to be noted that Zaka Ashraf was ousted for the third time on Wednesday.
Later talking to reporters, Najam Sethi said the PCB’s constitution was being drafted, adding that he would leave the post after holding elections. He claimed that as PCB chief he did not receive any perks and privileges.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2014.