Pakistan – Zaka Ashraf to head PCB’s new management committee

To resolve the ongoing legal disputes in various courts that have caused a hold-up in the PCB election process, the prime minister of Pakistan has approved a new ten-member management committee headed by Zaka Ashraf for a period of four months. Former Pakistan batter Zaheer Abbas is also among the members.

The PCB elections for the next board chairman were due to be held on June 27, but a number of writ petitions filed by former management committee members in various high courts in the country challenging the composition of the governing board led to them being postponed indefinitely.

The Balochistan High Court, without hearing the other party, issued a stay order and adjourned the hearing until July 17, causing a major stir in the functioning of PCB. The ministry for inter-provincial coordination (IPC), in its summary to the prime minister who is also the patron-in-chief of the PCB, cited that the numerous litigations which may hinder the smooth functioning of the PCB are due to the “inefficiency” of Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana, the incumbent election commissioner of the PCB.

The ministry wrote that “given the litigations, and in the wake of imminent International Cricket events & major decisions at International Council of Cricket, and to ensure seamless and efficient management at the helm of PCB, proposes the constitution of a new Management Committee for a period of four months as a measure to remove the difficulties arising out of the current scenario… Ministry is of the considered view that Rana may be removed from his position, and Mahmood Iqbal Khakwani, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, may be appointed as new Commissioner of PCB”.

The PCB’s board comprises ten members: four regional representatives, four representatives from services, and the two members nominated by the prime minister. These members will conduct a vote to determine the next chairman. Historically, it is the prime minister’s appointment to the PCB board of governors who becomes the chairman for a three-year term, and Ashraf, the overwhelming favourite at a time, was all set to become chairman.

The legal issues began after Najam Sethi pulled out of the race to become the next PCB chairman. Soon after he made way for Ashraf to take over, several of Sethi’s associates, who were part of his interim set-up, went to court to file writ petitions, thus creating a legal wrangle.

Sethi had been heading the interim management committee that had been running the PCB since last December, but its tenure ended on June 20. The committee had a mandate to carry out the election according to the PCB’s 2014 constitution, but the task was never completed.

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