PCB wants politicians to back off

LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has voiced its concern over a growing interference from "a number of political functionaries" in the Shahid Afridi issue, which it said was "essentially an internal disciplinary matter". "It is disappointing that despite Afridi pleading guilty to the offences, some political functionaries are extending their support with a view to influencing the disciplinary process being followed by PCB," Ijaz Butt, the board's chairman, said. "An understanding needs to be developed among all stakeholders, media and the politicians that no one is above the law and that, for maintaining discipline within the team, it is absolutely imperative that we carry out this process without any fear or favour. "PCB has been criticised for being ineffective in the past in the context of discipline. It would now appear an attempt by some forces to prevent the board from implementing the code of conduct may well damage Pakistan Cricket, if they continue to lend support to Afridi and exert undue pressure on PCB for their 'non-cricketing' interests." Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, was one politician who had pledged to get involved. "I will do whatever I can to resolve this issue, as I am equally a fan of Afridi," Malik had said on Twitter. Malik had success in such matters in the past, having mediated a peace between former chairman Nasim Ashraf and Shoaib Akhtar in 2008. Butt, however, is also politically well-covered. He is appointed by the Asif Ali Zardari.

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