ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday ordered Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman on November 2.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued these directions while hearing a petition of Ahmad Nawaz Khan who filed a contempt of court petition adopting that Sethi did not comply with the court order dated July 4, 2013 that clearly said that the elections for the PCB chairman should be held within 90-day time.
The court also directed the ECP to announce election schedule for the PCB chairman here on Monday. During the hearing, Justice Siddiqui inquired from the counsel for ECP Nouman Paracha advocate that why the election commission could not hold the PCB elections. He replied that the ECP was engaged with the local bodies and cantonment board elections these days, so the commission might be provided with some time to hold these elections.
It is pertinent to mention here that after the July 4 judgment, the ECP had said that it was not its mandate to hold the PCB elections.
In this connection, Justice Siddiqui said that if the ECP could hold elections of Pakistan Engineering Counsel (PEC) whose electoral college was very vast and polling stations were established throughout the country, why it could not hold the PCB elections that could be held at a single polling station of Gaddafi Stadium with 111 members to cast their votes.
He remarked that the ECP should hold these elections since the International Cricket Council (ICC) had also been demanding fair elections.
Expressing his annoyance over the analysis where it was said that Pakistan team lost its match from Zimbabwe due to court orders, the judge asked that now Pakistan cricket team had defeated the strongest South African cricket team, so who should be credited for this victory?
PCB counsel Tafazzal Hussain Rizvi stated before the court that out of 111 members of the PCB’s Electoral College, around 30 per cent had been in litigation where their cases had been pending adjudication.
At this juncture, Justice Siddiqui said that those who were elected representatives of the district, regional and departmental cricket associations might be provided with a chance to cast their votes.
The bench said that Najam Sethi seized to be a PCB caretaker chairman after October 18. Rizvi said that now there was an interim management committee that was taking care of the affairs.
Justice Siddiqui said that after November 02, this interim committee would also lose its legal validity. The ECP counsel sought 30-day time from the court to hold these elections but the court said that these must be done by November 2. At one instance, the court said that if the ECP did not agree to hold the elections, the court would order IHC registrar to hold these elections. In its verdict, the IHC bench directed the ECP to hold election on November 2 while the list of Electoral College has already been provided to the ECP.
The court in its order further noted that the PCB had been facing legal problems in dealing with the organisational matters. The election was the only solution to all these problems and the full time chairman PCB would be in a capacity to deal with all financial and administrative affairs, the court order further said.
Justice Siddiqui observed that the election would also stop the derogatory analysis of different people regarding the court.
During the hearing, the court also accepted caretaker chairman PCB Najam Sethi’s explanation for not holding elections within the stipulated time of 90 days. In his explanation, Sethi had told the court that PCB on August 2, 17 and 23 wrote three letters to the ECP for compliance of the court orders dated July 4, 2013 for holding elections for the slot of the PCB chairman. Earlier, the petitioner Ahmad Nawaz Khan while referring to the July 4 judgment of the same IHC bench had told the court that Najam Sethi through the said judgment remained no more an acting chairman and had become a caretaker.
He added that the court had directed him to hold fresh elections within 90 days for the slot of PCB chairman while Sethi committing contempt of court has not taken any measure in this regard till this time.
The petitioner, who is a member of the eagle cricket club and a candidate for the post of secretary regional cricket association, through his counsel Abdul Razzaq Rajab advocate contended before the court that Sethi issued a circular resolution on September 17, 2013 to the PCB governing board for empowering himself to remove/dissolve all interim committees appointed in regions, management of the regions till elected bodies are appointed. Removal of the office bearers of the regions whose tenure comes to an end and for the induction of three honorary advisors to help him overcoming issues pertaining to district, regions and domestic cricket, he added. He said that the said circular resolution was contempt of court and Sethi had not taken any substantial measures for the elections till today. He alleged that Sethi deliberately had been delaying the elections.
He prayed the court that it might initiate contempt of court proceedings against Sethi under article 3, 5, 6 of the contempt of court ordinance 2003.