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Sethi appointed interim chairman of PCB

PM Nawaz Sharif appointed Najam Sethi as interim Chairman of the cricket board following the Isalamad High Court order.

Pakistan Prime Minister on Sunday appointed senior journalist Najam Sethi as the interim chairman of the national Cricket Board (PCB).

Mr. Sethi’s appointment came after the Islamabad High Court directed the government to appoint an interim Chairman after it had suspended Zaka Ashraf from working as Chairman of the Board over allegations of unconstitutional process followed in the PCB elections in May.

Mr. Sethi in his first interaction with the media in Lahore made it clear that he had been asked by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to put the cricket board affairs in order and he would do his best.

Mr. Sethi who was Editor of a popular English daily and did a popular political talk show on Geo News before becoming the Chief Minister of the Punjab province in the caretaker government said he would tread carefully.

“All the decisions I will take, will be in consultation with the court and inter provincial coordination ministry. I don’t want to act in haste but we have to see that the new constitution of the board meets the requirements of Pakistan cricket and is enforced properly at every level,” he said, indicating he would go for a review of the controversial constitution.

The Islamabad High Court suspended Ashraf in May after a constitutional writ petition was filed by a former coach of the Army cricket team against his election and against the election process.

Mr. Ashraf was initially appointed Chairman by President Asif Zardari in October 2011, and in May this year after the board implemented a new constitution was elected as Chairman.

But many challenges have been filed in the courts against his election and the election process. The writ petitions said the process was flawed. The IHC also observed in its initial hearing that the election process appeared to be mala fide and polluted. The IHC had also stopped Ashraf from attending the ICC annual executive board meeting in London next week and ordered the government to appoint an interim Chairman and send him instead.

Mr. Sethi said he would be going for the meeting as he wanted to meet with ICC officials to discuss the constitution which has been approved by the ICC under its democratisation process for member boards. He said that while the ICC’s guidelines for a new constitution to member boards was meant to introduce more democracy but one had to see whether these guidelines were suited for countries like Pakistan.

He said: “Democratic process and elections in a fair and transparent manner at the grass root level is a difficult thing.”

Asked about his credentials to run cricket affairs, Mr. Sethi pointed out to the media that none of the members of the board’s of Governors had played first class cricket. He said after the national team’s recent poor show in the Champions Trophy people were disappointed and steps were required to restore their confidence.

Keywords: journalist Najam Sethi, PCB, Pakistan Cricket Board, Islamabad High Court, Zaka Ashraf suspension

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