Najam Sethi has once again been reinstated as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the Supreme Court (SC) declared null and void the notification issued by the government on Monday which removed Sethi from his post.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the appeal filed by Inter provincial coordination ministries appeal against the verdict of Islamabad High Court.
The SC also set aside the appointment of Justice (R) Jamshed Ali Shah, who was given the task to conduct fresh elections to appoint a new chief of the PCB, as the acting chairman of the board for 30 days.
According to observation given by the court during the course of hearing, the new Constitution drafted under Sethi was also illegal since his appointment was being challenged in court. The court also declared the process to hold fresh elections as invalid.
The court in its order has said that Najam Sethi would continue working as Chairman PCB, however bench directed office to place matter before the Chief Justice Nasiul Mulk so that the case may be fixed in Supreme Court’s branch registry Lahore for convenience of the parties.
Sethi was removed from his post on Thursday and was to serve as a member of the PCB’s Board of Governors until fresh elections to appoint a new chief were held. The removal from his office, thus made him eligible to contest in the elections.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the government’s a notification was an effort to undermine the court’s authority, adding that the executive order cannot be issued as a matter is pending in the court.
Justice Saqib said that in the presence of a Chairman, PCB board how the constitution and new interim setup can be formed?
Meanwhile, Attorney General while reading the Sports Development Ordinance was of the view that the completion of new PCB constitution was one of the main objects of this interim setup. He requested the court to allow work to interim setup for the betterment of the institution. But the court rejected AG’s plea.
During the course of hearing the head of bench Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali addressing to the Sethi said that all issue was resolved but only your issue remains un-solved, adding that can you leave the office voluntarily.
Responding to Justice Jamali, Chairman PCB said that he was not interested in holding this office, adding that I have accepted the office reluctantly. I have met Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif about 10 days ago, he added.
Sethi said he has no objection if issue is resolved by my leaving but PM has asked me to continue work, adding that new democratic constitution has been prepared and according to the new constitution the Chairman can be removed through move of no-confidence move. Earlier the PCB constitution was prepared by a single person, he added.
He further said that PCB is going to sign many agreements with International Community/ Broadcasters and if court nullifies the setup than International Community/ Broadcasters would review prior to sign agreements and it would cause a loss of billions of rupees, he further elaborated.
Meanwhile Justice Jamali advised that both ex Chairman Zaka Ashraf and Sethi would be nominated as members of governing body, any of them by securing majority votes can become the chairman PCB.
Imtiaz Ahmed Siddiqui the counsel for Zaka Ashraf said that court may allow to new interim setup to work instead of restoration of the Najam Sethi. Ahmed Raza Qasuri said that court may issue the direction for issuance of salaries to the sacked employees.
However the court has not given any observation in this regard. Later the apex court deferred further hearing of case till next Monday (July 21) and the case would be heard in Lahore.
Speaking to the media after the court’s order, Sethi said “I have told the honorable court that I have no desire to hold onto the post but would like to complete the tasks handed to me. The court heard my side and has allowed me to continue in my role until the matter in finally settled.
Najam Sethi said that the court has heard his point of view which he explained to the bench personally. Sethi said that the prime minister wants him to continue his services at the PCB, adding personally he is not interested in this honorary position as his main profession is journalism.
He laughed off a question from a media person that whether he would quit journalism for the PCB slot.