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Zaka sacked, Sethi named new chairman

Karachi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sacked Zaka Ashraf as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday. He also suspended the governing board of the PCB with immediate effect.

Najam Sethi has been elected as the new chairman.

[The Telegraph had reported on February 6 that Ashraf’s days as PCB chief were numbered and he was set to be removed. It was also stated that Sethi may take over.]

In a notification issued by the ministry of inter provincial coordination, Sharif, in his capacity as patron in chief of the PCB, appointed an 11-member ad-hoc committee.

The committee, in its turn, appointed Sethi as chairman. Eight out of 11 members voted in favour of Sethi during a hurriedly called meeting, just hours after the government issued a notification, sacking Ashraf.

Shakil Shaikh, a member of the management committee, told a news conference at the Gaddafi stadium that the Prime Minister had acted within his powers.

“Zaka Ashraf has been removed and we have selected Najam Sethi as the new chairman. The managing committee will meet on Tuesday to further discuss and review the decisions taken by Ashraf,” he said.

A defiant Ashraf, however, told a news conference that he still remained the chairman and that he would be seek legal advice.

“This action of the government is unconstitutional and my lawyers will look into it. But what is sad is that martial law has been imposed in Pakistan cricket by a democratic government,” he said.

Ironically, Ashraf and Sethi have held the PCB chairman’s post in the PCB since 2011, when the Pakistan Peoples Party was in power.

The committee, appointed be the Prime Minister, includes former Test players Zaheer Abbas and Iqbal Qasim and former chairmen of the PCB, Shaharyar Khan and Sethi.

Ashraf was reinstated as chairman of the PCB last month by the Islamabad High Court.

A single bench of the court had in May, 2013 removed him as chairman, after which he filed an appeal. “Zaka Ashraf has been dismissed on several charges by the Prime Minister, who is a great lover of the sport,” Shakil told a TV channel.

“The charges include that he (Ashraf) left Pakistan isolated in world cricket with his mishandling of the Big Three issue and there were also financial mismanagement and appointments in his tenure.”

Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstained from voting on Saturday when the ICC passed structural and financial reforms to effectively place India, England and Australia in charge of the game.