Saturday, 23 October 2021

Najam Sethi re-elected as PCB chairman

Najam Sethi

LAHORE: The PCB’s new Board of Governors (BoG) has picked the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s direct nominee Najam Sethi as board chairman for the next three years. Sethi was unanimously elected from within the 10-member BoG as no other member of the BoG filed nomination papers for the post.

Sethi’s chances of taking over as chairman were very likely after he was named on the PCB’s BoG on July 8 by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif – who was later disqualified by the country’s Supreme Court – as one of two direct nominees along with Ariff Ejaz, a prominent corporate figure. According to the PCB constitution, the chairman has to be elected from among those persons on the BoG.

The previous three-year tenure ended when chairman Shaharyar Khanresigned, aged 83, citing personal and health reasons. Ejaz will be his replacement on the BoG, with representatives from the Lahore regions, Quetta, Sialkot, FATA, Peshawar, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Among the other four members, Water and Power Development Authority and United Bank Limited will retain their seats while Habib Bank Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited have replaced Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and National Bank of Pakistan.

This is Sethi’s second term in charge after the long battle over the leadership of the PCB between Zaka Ashraf and Sethi, which ended in May 2014; there had been multiple leadership changes in the PCB, after Ashraf became the first elected PCB chairman in May 2013.

The Islamabad High Court termed those elections “dubious”, and Sethi was put in charge by the government. Ashraf and Sethi were then alternately reappointed and sacked from the post several times, before Sethi eventually filed a written statement before the court that he will not contest elections for the chairman’s post.

Sethi, however, remained on the PCB’s BoG and head of the Executive Committee (ExCo) to control cricket affairs in Pakistan. In that period, Sethi was involved in the day-to-day functioning of the PCB and became an influential board member with signing authority. Although the PCB did not reveal the ExCo’s functions, it is understood that the committee holds significant influence in the board.

Sethi, 69, a former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, comes from a journalism background. He has also been a driving force behind the Pakistan Super League.

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