AHORE – A constitutional crisis has developed in Pakistan cricket after the government failed to notify the appointment of a new PCB Chairman despite the completion of Ijaz Butt’s three-year term.According to the PCB constitution, even a minute above the specified time for chairman is illegal but Ijaz Butt, who was appointed chairman of the board on October 8, 2008, continues to work despite expiry of his term and there has been no word from the President House regarding his extension or the appointment of the new chairman. Ali Raza’s name was doing the round but later Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Zaka Ashraf also emerged as the aspirants for the post.
Now the race is tough because everyone seems to be in race for the seat. Ijaz Butt was the first PCB chairman after 1998 to have completed his term in the office. Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari (1995-98) also worked for three full year’s term as head of Pakistan cricket. Khalid Mahmood, Mujeebur Rehman and Zafar Altaf did not complete their terms and Lt Gen (retd) Tauqir Zia was an army-backed set up.Shaharyar Khan and Dr Naseem Ashraf too did not finish their terms. Shaharyar Khan, however, was made to quit a couple of months before the expiry of his term. In the backdrop of the fact that his term has expired, Butt has no any legal authority to attend the ICC Executive Board meeting in Dubai. But a President House spokesman was reported to have said that Butt must have been asked by the President to continue till further orders.
President Asif Zardari, who is patron of the PCB, should have made the new announcement as now every decision taken by Ijaz Butt would be questionable. Former PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said that there was always a possibility that with the PCB and ICC relations not ideal, someone at the executive board might raise the issue whether Butt could attend the executive board meeting or not.”It would have been better if someone else from the board represented Pakistan at the meeting,” he added. “I think if the Presidency didn’t issue a fresh notification Butt should have stepped down himself,” a source quoted Khan as saying. A former legal advisor of the board, Shaan Gul, also claimed that the constitution didn’t allow the chief patron to give Butt a short extension. “The government can’t give him an extension of five or six months or even a year. If they want him to continue, they will have to give him a fresh three-year term,” Gul said.
Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for the President, made it clear that Butt was carrying on working as Chairman with the approval of the President. “The chief patron appoints the Chairman and since we are considering extension of the term for Butt he can continue to work with government approval,” Babar said. Reports said that while Butt was himself interested in continuing as Chairman and was using all his connections to get a proper extension, there were other names under consideration by the Presidency.”Former Test captain Majid Khan is a front-runner and others like Zaheer Abbas and Zaka Ashraf, head of a state-owned bank, ZTBL, is also under consideration,” one source close to the Presidency said. Majid, who has also served as chief executive of the board, is nowadays leading retired life having also served as controller sports in the PTV. The names of Ali Raza, former NBP president and Javed Miandad were also circulating but sources refuted those names and said that no final decision has been taken and Butt may continue till further orders.
Ijaz Butt before leaving for Dubai denied to have written to the President Asif Ali Zardari for extension of his tenure. But he refused to divulge into details of the meeting with him. There are reports that Butt has sought a six-month extension from Zardari. However, Butt denied any such move but certain sources said that though the President refused him extension maybe he would be kept till the Pakistan and India series expected in April next year.”The president appointed me as chairman of the board and reposed faith in me. He has always supported and backed me. He is the boss and I don’t want to comment on issues that are confidential,” Butt said. “I have not written to the President asking for an extension, it is not true. I took this position because I am passionate about Pakistan cricket. But I don’t want to discuss an issue on which sooner or later a decision will be taken,” Butt said.
“Look there is always good and bad and right or wrong in every board, but personally I am satisfied with the way the team has developed and performed despite all the problems and how new players are coming up,” former captain and PCB CEO, Rameez Raja said. Former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia also conceded that while he would not describe Butt’s tenure as a successful one, but cricket-wise things had been good.”Purely from the cricket point of view the team has done well in these three years and is moving forward. We lost three key players and some others but the team has done well and despite foreign teams not coming to Pakistan cricket activities have increased in the country,” Zia said. Butt’s three-year tenure has been marked by many controversies and scandals with players disciplinary issues flaring up time and again.
“If anything Butt during his tenure showed he was ready to take on the players’ power culture in the team and has succeeded to a large extent because now no player takes his place in the team for granted,” a board official said. His tenure is mainly remembered for the militants attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009, and for the spot-fixing scandal that led to the bans on three of Pakistan’s brightest stars — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer. Butt himself in a recent interview had described the spot fixing scandal as the most painful part of his tenure. – Pakistantoday