Reports: Zaka Ashraf to be removed as PCB Chairman, Najam Sethi likely to return
Zaka Ashraf took over the reins from Najam Sethi in July 2023.
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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf is likely to be removed from his position paving the way for a potential new candidate to take up the role. The potential change in the PCB leadership is reportedly due to the recent political developments in the country. The present government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif transitioned to a caretaker status on August 9 along with the formal announcement of the upcoming elections.
Furthermore, according to reports, the nation’s election commission has asked the government to remove all political appointments to make sure a fair and unbiased electoral process takes place. Hence, the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) informed the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary about Ashraf being one such political appointee.
According to Cricbuzz, former Chairman Najam Sethi could be in line to replace Ashraf. Notably, Ashraf had taken over the reins from Sethi in July 2023.
An IPC note has said, "Reference Election Commission of Pakistan letter No F-2(1)2023-Coord-vol dated 15th August, 2023 and Guidelines Notification No 2 (1)/2023-Coord dated 15th August, 2023 (Annex 1):
In pursuance of para(g) of the notification ibid: "To ensure immediate termination of services of all heads of institutions headed appointed on political basis and to send all such cases to the commission for approval of termination or otherwise.Two cases pertaining to Ministry of IPC are submitted for consideration and appropriate orders please:
(i) Mr Zaka Ashraf (PPP), chairman, managing committee, Pakistan Cricket Board
(ii) Peer Syed Ahmed Nawaz Shah (PPP), chairman, Federation Land Commission (sic)."
Najam Sethi pulled out of PCB Chairman race in June 2023
The position of PCB chairman has traditionally been a political appointment. However, Ashraf took over from Sethi following a demand from the Pakistan People's Party who contended that the PCB chairman role should be given to their nominee as they have control over the federal sports ministry. As a result, Ashraf was given the role ending Sethi’s seven-month-long tenure since December 2022.
Notably, Sethi was once again in contention to continue in his role, however, he pulled out of the race to avoid any conflict between Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif.