PM Sharif appoints ‘power hungry’ Sethi as PCB chairman as he cannot make Geo media group ‘angry’

By Raza Ruman

Islamabad, Feb 10 ( Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has put the court’s order under his feet to oblige the Geo Media group’s controversial anchor Najam Sethi by again appointing him Pakistan Cricket Board chairman.

The power hungry Sethi had been in distress since he was booted out by the Islamabad High Court from the post of adhoc committee chairman last month. As the opposition especially Raja Riaz of PPP had openly said that “Sethi was rewarded for his role as acting chief minister Punjab in the victory of PML-N”. Sethi was so power hungry that he used to move in huge protocol during his short stint as PCB acting chairman.

When he was shown the door by the court, he pleaded the prime minister and the management of his channel to appoint him again as his life has become difficult without the “power protocols”. The Islamabad High Court had reinstated Zaka Ashraf and Nawaz Sharif should have followed it.

Sources told Pak Destiny that Nawaz Sharif had floated the court’s order only to oblige the Geo group’s man as he cannot afford “hostility” from the channel which is the market leader.

Sharif removed Zaka Ashraf as chairman of the PCB and appointed an 11-member ad-hoc committee, headed by former interim PCB chief Najam Sethi, to run the affairs of the PCB.

Sharif, who is also patron-in-chief of the PCB, also appointed PCB ex-chairman Shaharyar Khan and former Test cricketers Iqbal Qasim and Zaheer Abbas as members of the ad-hoc committee.

Islamabad Cricket Association president Shakil Shaikh, who is also one of the members, said Ashraf was removed because of “mishandling Pakistan’s case in the recent changes brought in the ICC.”

Pakistan abstained from the voting in the ICC Board meeting last week in which the three biggest cricketing nations — India, Australia and England — got a majority of the powers in the sport’s governing body, securing the required eight votes from the 10 full members.

Sri Lanka also abstained from voting on the grounds that it needed more time to look into the changes of the ICC setup.

Ashraf was restored last month by a divisional bench of the Islamabad High Court after he was suspended last year on grounds of not holding transparent elections for PCB chairman.

Shaikh said Ashraf’s removal will “bode well” for the PCB.

“It’s a good decision by the prime minister and now every decision will be made on merit,” Shaikh told the Associated Press.

Shaikh also alleged that Ashraf was involved in bungling the finances of the PCB and failed to handle its administrative, management and international affairs.

Ashraf, however, remained defiant.

“I am still the chairman of the board and this notification has no bearing on my position,” Ashraf told a local news channel.

“This decision will only further weaken Pakistan’s position in international cricket and I will soon decide on what legal recourse to take.”

Ashraf returned home early on Monday from Singapore after attending the ICC Board meeting. He said he had made several attempts to seek the prime minister’s views on the changes in the ICC before going to Singapore, including writing a letter, but could not succeed in meeting with Sharif.

In some of the major changes since he was restored, Ashraf appointed former Test opening batsman Aamir Sohail as chief selector and was due to finalise Pakistan’s batting coach, fielding coach and the head coach.- Pak Destiny

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