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Zaka Ashraf is set to be removed

Calcutta: Zaka Ashraf is set to be removed as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He could be out as early as next week, once he returns to Lahore after attending the February 8-9 executive board meeting of the International Cricket Council.

That meeting is in Singapore.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declined to meet Ashraf, who was appointed by his principal foe, former President Asif Ali Zardari...

“With the Supreme Court refusing to intervene on the recent reinstatement of Ashraf by an order of the Islamabad High Court, pointing out that the government had every right to appoint a chairman of its choice, Ashraf’s days are totally numbered...

“Had there been no meeting in Singapore, it’s quite possible that Ashraf would have been removed this week itself. The relevant file is moving...

“There’s a good chance that Najam Sethi, who has been an interim chairman, will be back, this time as a full-fledged chairman of the PCB,” a well-placed source, based in Islamabad, told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Sharif is the PCB’s patron and the chairman is always appointed by the patron. Till the last dispensation, the country’s President used to be the PCB’s patron, which explains how Zardari appointed Ashraf.

A court order unseated Ashraf last summer, but Sharif had no role to play at that point in time. Ashraf came back, last month, via the legal route, but with Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party out of power, it’s a matter of time before he’s shown the door.

The PCB, meanwhile, has sought the foreign affairs ministry’s clearance for the national team’s participation in the February 25-March 8 Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have, in recent months, been strained. Clearance, however, is unlikely to be withheld.