The Supreme Court has stopped Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from taking any adverse action against its former chairman Zaka Ashraf and 38 other employees, who were restored by Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 17.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, on Tuesday accepted the plea of Zaka Ashraf’s counsel, Imtiaz Siddiqui, who had requested the court to direct the PCB not to take any action against his client on the basis of an internal audit report.
The SC bench, however, maintained its May 21 order to suspend the IHC’s May 17 verdict, which had resulted in restoration of Najam Sethi as the PCB chairman.
The court also issued notices to the PCB chairman Najam Sethi, Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination Secretary Shehryar Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Naveed Akram Cheema, Shakeel Sheikh, Yousuf Nadeem Khokhar and Iqbal Qasim over a petition filed by a PCB employee Arbab Altaf Hussain.
The petitioner had requested the court for initiating contempt proceedings against the respondents for deliberately misconstruing and misinterpreting the court’s May 21 order.
Imtiaz Siddiqui advocate said the government’s counsel had concealed some facts and developments, which caused irreparable damage to his client and adversely affected the prestigious name of the PCB in the international cricketing world.
He said Zaka Ashraf resumed office as PCB chairman after the IHC judgment. This was immediately followed by a press conference, which was widely covered by the media.
“Thereafter a number of meetings were held by the management of the PCB under the chairmanship of Zaka Ashraf. During these meetings the ill motivated inquiries by Mr Najam Sethi – including a bogus internal audit conducted for the period in which the answering respondent had earlier performed his service as chairman PCB – was discussed.”
He said that in order to ensure transparency and to obtain a fair as well as independent opinion on the issues and concerns raised in the internal audit report, the members decided to assign an external audit firm for its review and opinion.
He said Najam Sethi misinterpreted the interim order of the apex court and 38 employees of the PCB, who were reinstated by IHC’s May 17 order, have been adversely affected by this misinterpretation.
The counsel said the facts regarding the implementation of Islamabad High Court order have been concealed from the top court.
Imtiaz Siddiqui requested the bench to issue contempt notices to all respondents. The bench, however, issued simple notices to them for getting their replies over the contempt petition.
The court adjourned the hearing of case for two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2014.