An extraordinary judicial intervention in the affairs of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has thrown everything and everyone into confusion, disarray and gridlock. Worse, it is threatening to post huge financial, administrative and sporting losses on the only tax-paying national sport institution in the country.
Ex-Chairman PCB Zaka Ashraf was “suspended” by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in May pending investigations into an alleged motivated and polluted “election” for the PCB chairman’s post. On the orders of the IHC, the government appointed an “Acting Chairman” on June 22 pending resolution of the case.
On July 4th, the court dismissed Mr Ashraf and ordered the Acting Chairman to hold elections to the chairman’s post within 90 days. Under the PCB constitution, a four-member committee of the ten-member Board of Governors (BoG) elects the chairman from amongst two nominees by the Patron. However, in the detailed judgment actually released on July 22 but made effective from July 4th, the court made some extraordinary interventions to delete and add sections to the PCB constitution on its own motion.
First, the court changed the designation of Acting Chairman (AC) to Caretaker Chairman (CC), a notion that doesn’t exist in the constitution. Second, it barred the CC from effectively managing the PCB – he was not allowed to hire, fire, terminate or transfer, or to sign medium or long term contracts, or to appoint a selection committee, and so on – other than on a “day to day” basis. This is why media-broadcasting rights were sold by the PCB only for two Series in 2013 instead of for five years as per global practice. Third, it held that the PCB’s general body of over 111 members from regional associations, rather than the BoG elected by them as written in the constitution, should directly elect the chairman. Fourth, it said only a graduate first-class cricketer could contest elections and it mandated the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct the polls — both terms are alien to the PCB constitution. The cut-off date for doing all this was October 18th. Finally, it appointed a DMG officer as Secretary of the PCB, in violation of international commitments to the International Cricket Council. In short, the court practically wrote a new constitution for the PCB without any debate or discussion.
The government challenged the judgment on the ground that the court had gone beyond its constitutional ambit and seized executive powers to write a new constitution. The PCB challenged it on the ground that the new “electoral college” was 35% incomplete because of various “stay orders” granted by other courts to disputing candidates forming the new electoral college. The ECP told the court it was not its mandate to conduct such elections under Pakistan’s Constitution.
The situation took an alarming turn when it transpired that the IHC Division Bench supposed to hear the Intra Court Appeals could not be constituted before the cut-off date of Oct 18 for various reasons. Fearing a constitutional, administrative and managerial void in the PCB after Oct 18, and with the aim of enabling the PCB to be represented at the ICC meeting in London on October 19, the government issued a notification establishing an Interim Management Committee (IMC) on Oct 14 to run the “day-to-day” affairs of the PCB pending a decision in the court cases. This step was within the given parameters of the PCB Constitution.
On the morning of Oct 29, the Honourable Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC, who has presided over the matter from Day-One, struck down the IMC (which he had earlier upheld vide earlier order dated 21 October 2013) and issued contempt notices to the Government, ECP, IMC etc. He also nominated an ex-judge at a fee of Rs. 2,500,000.00 to be paid for by PCB to hold PCB chairman’s elections in November on his terms and conditions.
One critical question has to be settled. Can a court take away the power of an elected government to legislate a constitution for the PCB in accordance with global standards and practices and exercise? Interestingly, the latest pronouncement of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Appeal titled Dossani Travels (Pvt) Limited v. M/s Travels Shop (Pvt) Limited & others has held inter alia that it is not the function of the High Court exercising jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution to interfere in the Policy Making Domain of the Executive.
Nowhere in the cricketing world is the head of any Board a first-class or test cricketer elected directly by a general body. The reason for this is that the basic functions of cricket boards are financial and managerial, with only sporting activities guided by committees headed by ex-sportsmen.
The PCB is incurring financial losses of billions by delaying urgent financial, administrative and sporting decisions. The matter needs to be brought to a fair, just and constitutional closure as early as possible by the honourable Judges in the national interest.
what a similarity between our two nations. In the last two years the indian cricket board was fried by media .The boards chairman whose beloved son in law was indulging in all sort of shady activities, now under court’s slow investigations . The powerful chairman played foul cricket with innocent cricket lovers, govt and the court. Thank god, media was active and educated the poor public .
some players also developed links with international frauds and showed their kerchiefs as mark for bowling a wrong predetermined ball for a fat fee. Sir this is cricket of Modern days.
how can it be different from what is happening in all other departments of our life. some can make extra money. why not others. that is the game philosophy.
gone are those days of MANGAURD, HAZARE, UMRIKAR, HANIF FAZALS etc As an young boy i bought a ticket fro Rs 2 at chepauk stadium . It is now rs 2000, to Rs 20,000 etc.
It is no more sports. players are horses. Rich bet on them. idiots stand in ques to buy tickets in black and make Bollywood stars richer as they are team owners. cricketing players should be ashamed of selling themselves.. influence of American systems.
But it is amazing where did the Judges learn about sports to pass ruling right left and center. they are omnipotent human beings even god will fear to cross examine.
cricket. less said is better
Zaka Ashraf removed by court for not holding fair elections how can Sethi remain chairman for years without holding fair election
if elections were not possible then bring back Zaka Ashraf, what’s wrong with him???
First and foremost it is a requirement that the person running the game understands the game. The author has admitted frequently that he has not watched a match in over 20 years and may I add his understanding of domestic and international cricket structures is somewhere between limited and non existent. The author is indignant that the court is interfering in him continuing as Chairman PCB but may I remind him that he became the Chairman because of the court action but of course that court action was justifiable as it benefits the author. What level of transparency was involved in appointing Mr. Sethi to the post (absolutely none!) but obviously he has no issue with that as it benefits him.
Sehti sahib, There are many like me who admire you for what you stand for. This involvement in PCB is not giving you a good name. Remain an independent journalist and leave this for others.
what a strong cartoon… what a depiction…!
Unfortunate…….there is a need to give 33 % of quota to honorable judges to become MNA for a period of 5 years from the date of retirement. The model is available as the same has been adopted for women seats as well. Methodology for induction etc can be worked out. Knowing Mr Sethi’s dynamic approach, he can effectively rub PCB. There is a need for will that lacks very badly.
No where in the world does the Court interfere the way the Courts in Pakistan do. The Policy Making Power of any Executive Body does not come under the purview of the Court unless anything illegal has been done with or with a malafide intent.
Here people love to approach the Court on misconstrued pretexts and the Courts give them stays more easily. Are the Judges not accountable so that the merit of any case be decided initially than giving decision on stays or taking suo moto’s for which many decisions get delayed wrongly or right, and which in the end, are to be borne by the tax-payer eventually?
Are the Courts and its Judges above the Law itself?
When Mr. Najam Sethi is the right man for the job is separate from the extraordinary
judicial overreach and disruption the judge is undertaking. It is quite clear that a large number of judges of the superior courts in Pakistan do not have the training, judgement and intellectual caliber to administer justice.
Najam Sethi failed to hold elections 0n 18 October 2013 as directed by the HC. He should have resigned and instead he decided to cling on precipitating crisis even further. The problem with our leaders and so-called intellectuals is lacking in morals.
Mr sethi, more brickbats than flowers. cricket is not your cup of tea. throw the bat. retire along with tendulkar. you have better things to do. perhaps you can guide confused Nawaz what to and how to negotiate with taliban. be careful to wear steel armor .
My comment does not refer to this article. But I must say, I was disappointed that you could not even wish your Pakistani Hindu brothers a happy Diwali. Are you like the others who feel that only Muslims have a right to be Pakistani and only their festivals should be acknowledged.
WhenPakistani Hindus are subjected o ehteram- Ramzan, is too much for them to at least be reciprocated with a Happy Diwali on main TV shows?
BEING a passionate cricket lover, I have been deeply shocked to learn that the prime minister has become the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Since its establishment in November 1947, the head of state has always remained the patron-in-chief of the cricket board.
The Quaid-i-Azam became the first patron of the then Board for Cricket Control in Pakistan.
The Quaid didn’t accept this title under any constitutional obligation but it was the request of the general body of the then BCCP. And since then this title rested with the head of state.
The constitution of the PCB doesn’t empower the president, who in my view is still the patron-in-chief of the board, or the self-appointed patron-in-chief, the prime minister, to amend the PCB constitution.
But gross violation has been committed by a politician who made history by becoming the prime minister for the third time.
Is it arrogance of power? I also wonder how could the prime minister who himself is a passionate cricketer can do an undemocratic act for which he was not empowered even after the passage of the 18th Amendment.
The prime minister took this whimsical decision in an indecent haste, only two days before the Islamabad High Court’s deadline of Oct 18 given to Najam Sethi to complete the election of the PCB chairman according to the ICC directives. Sethi failed to meet the deadline.
This is not the first instance that court’s order was ignored. The prime minister had already rejected a summary of the inter-provincial coordination ministry prepared under the court’s order to appoint the chairman of the PCB.
The prime minister appointed his favourite, which is tantamount to contempt of court, rejecting court’s deadline of Oct 18.
The prime minister has done no good to the game through his arbitrary decision.
This has set a bad example and spread the wrong message across the country that ‘might is right’.
Judicial restraint is an essential quality which every judge must have in abundance but the same is lacking in this judgement. King can afford to say that i am of this view and so no option but to accept this view. But judge has to give his reasons which culminited in to his views. Failing which it can not be called as speaking order. The order appears to be in line of the doctrine of legal necessity and . equally bad and hence highly objectionable .The mute question is for whose benefit such illegal order is passed . Let the cat come out of the bag .
Has it ever occurred to Mr. Sethi that he is compromising the trust the readers have in the credibility of FT by writing to promote his own interests. He did the same on Aapas ki baat. Why does he expect propriety from others when he does not see a conflict of interest himself. Isn’t that a tragedy?