Sethi says he will try to resolve problems at PCB
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The newly appointed acting chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board said Sunday he will try to lead the organization out of crisis in a transparent manner and will attend next week’s annual board meeting of the International Cricket Council.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed prominent journalist Najam Sethi to the post on Sunday after the Islamabad High Court ordered the government to replace PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf last month.
“My job is to resolve all the problems of cricket board in a transparent manner like election, selection and then go back home,” Sethi said in Lahore.
Sethi said he met with Sharif two days ago and the prime minister wanted him to represent Pakistan at the ICC meeting and also fulfill the orders of IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddique.
The judge had stopped Ashraf from working as PCB chairman last month and termed his election as “polluted” in a petition filed by a former official of the Rawalpindi region. Siddique also ordered the government to appoint an acting chairman, who could represent Pakistan at the ICC meeting in London.
“It was mandatory (to attend ICC meeting) because it has never happened in history that a country’s representative on the ICC board did not attend the meeting,” said Sethi, who will be accompanied by PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed at the ICC meeting.
Sethi, who is a prominent political analyst in both print and electronic media in Pakistan, also served as caretaker chief minister in the Punjab province before Pakistan’s general elections in May.
His appointment came as a surprise after the government’s counsel last week informed the court that former captain Majid Khan, cricket commentator Chishtie Mujahid and the former chief of the Federal Bureau of Revenue Mumtaz Haider Rizvi were shortlisted for the post. That list was reportedly passed to Sharif, who was to announce the winning candidate.
Last year the ICC issued a deadline of June 2013 for all the countries to run their cricket boards along democratic lines and under minimum interference from governments.
But Sethi said the ICC has softened its stance because the game’s governing body realizes there are complexities surrounding the governance of cricket in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“ICC had given guidelines to conduct elections in a democratic way, but now they realize there are problems at grassroots democracy in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan,” he said.
“Previously they took a hard line but now they have softened their stance. We will go listen to them and then we will discuss it here with the courts, government and then take the decision.”
Sethi’s agenda also includes approval of the team selected for next month’s tour of the West Indies where Pakistan will be playing five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.
“More than 95 per cent of the work has been done and there’s not much time left. I will be meeting with the selectors and see what they have recommended before going for the ICC meeting.”