PPP, PML-N at loggerheads over appointment of new PCB chair

PPP supports Zaka Ashraf while PML-N wants Najam Sethi, which has created a rift between two parties, says Hamid Mir

Sports Desk
Ex-PCB chief Zaka Ashraf (left) and PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi. — AFP/Files
Ex-PCB chief Zaka Ashraf (left) and PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi. — AFP/Files

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have come face-to-face on the issue of the appointment of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, senior journalist Hamid Mir and host of Geo News' show 'Capital Talk' said.

During the show, Mir said that PPP's stance on the matter is that since its minister heads the Inter-Provincial Coordination Division and PCB is related to the ministry, its chairman should be appointed by the party. For this post, PPP wants to appoint ex-PCB chief Zaka Ashraf.

However, PML-N wants to appoint Najam Sethi, the PCB's management committee chairman, to the post, which has created a rift between the two parties, he said.

Speaking on the matter during the program, PML-N leader and federal minister Khurram Dastgir rejected the impression of differences.

"These may be internal matters, but we have good relations and a good working relationship with our allies," Dastgir said.

However, the appointment to the coveted post is no easy task.

The future aspirants spent a busy day in the capital yesterday, lobbying and brandishing their credentials and reached the corridors of power by using their respective connections.

While Sethi met PCB patron-in-chief, Shehbaz Sharif, former PCB chairman Ashraf met the Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ehsan Mazari.

In the meeting that lasted over an hour, Mazari assured Ashraf of full support for the post in accordance with the party policy.

“We have clear instructions from our party leadership to support Zaka Ashraf's credentials as his previous tenure as the PCB Chairman turned out to be a real success. He is our stalwart and a fine administrator as he has proved during his previous tenure. Even the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was his brainchild,” the minister told The News.

“There is no rule and moral ethics that caretakers start contesting elections when he was only appointed to make necessary preparations for free and fair elections.

"Secondly, since the sports ministry and — for that matter — the IPC Ministry falls within the PPP ambit in the coalition government, it is our right to have a PPP-backed candidate for the post. We cannot interfere in Ministries where PML-N or JUI have their ministers and expect everyone to respect our mandate also,” Mazari said.

“We hope and expect that we will soon be receiving Zaka Ashraf's name as one of the PM nominees for the post of PCB Chairman. The summary we have moved recently was carrying his name with a request to the PM.”

Furthermore, after the meeting, Ashraf confirmed that he had been nominated by PPP as PCB's future chairman and the meeting was meant to discuss the future setup and formalities involved.

He also appreciated the minister's role in streamlining sports in the country.

“I am really thankful to the minister for the role he played in broadening the base of sports infrastructure and even making efforts for free and fair PCB elections. The Mazari family has a history of contributing to Pakistan and I am glad that Mazari is carrying forward that legacy,” Ashraf told The News.

During the meeting, he also briefed Mazari on the importance of departmental and regional cricket and its role in the development of cricket in the country.

Before the PCB management committee's extension notification a few months ago, The News broke the story on Ashraf’s being a strong contender for the post of permanent PCB chairman.

The PCB MC extension expires on June 21 and before that efforts are being made to conduct the chairman elections. A meeting has already been convened on June 12 by the MC Chairman Sethi to discuss the formalities and to give the electoral college the required final shape.