Pakistan cricket news – PCB plays down conflict-of-interest concerns in regional elections

The PCB has played down concerns of conflict of interest in the ongoing regional electoral process, at the end of which the board’s directors will be appointed. The concerns are about officials from the interim setup, who are currently tasked with overseeing the PCB’s restructuring but are also taking part in the elections.

A 12-member management committee, headed by Najam Sethi, was handed interim charge of the board last December and given 120 days to bring back the 2014 PCB constitution in place of the version from 2019 it had been operating under. That timeline was this week formally extended by two months to the end of June. One of the key processes in that is conducting elections in over 100 districts, from which 16 regions will be formed. Four of the heads of those 16 regional associations will eventually sit on the PCB’s board of governors (BoG).

Three members of the management committee – Tanvir Ahmed, who has been elected president of Larkana region; Gul Zada, from Peshawar region; and Shakil Sheikh, who is in the running in the Islamabad region election – working from PCB headquarters currently are at the centre of the conflict concern. As members of the committee, they were given executive powers when they took charge to restore the departmental cricket structure, the formation of a BoG, and election of a board chairman.

“The Election Regulations under which the District and Regional elections have been/are being conducted have not been modified or amended by the MC, therefore, there is also no risk of a potential conflict of interest”

Statement from the PCB

Responding to a query from ESPNcricinfo, the PCB explained that its constitution stipulates that no employee of the board shall be eligible to contest any election of the board or any election under the aegis of the board. But when asked if there was a potential conflict of interest in a member of the management committee overseeing the electoral process as well as running in it, the PCB said, “As far as members of the MC [management committee] are concerned they are not employees of the Board, hence, there is no bar in the PCB Constitution or any Election Bylaws refraining them from contesting elections of RCAs/DCAs.”

“The elections of Regional Cricket Associations and District Cricket Associations are being held in line with the PCB Constitution and applicable PCB Election Bylaws,” the PCB added. “The Election Regulations under which the District and Regional elections have been/are being conducted have not been modified or amended by the MC, therefore, there is also no risk of a potential conflict of interest.”

To restore the 2014 constitution, the PCB needs to form a BoG comprising ten members: four regional representatives (top teams from the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy), four representatives of services organisations (top departmental teams), and the two members directly nominated by the PCB patron, which is the country’s prime minister. The federal secretary of the inter-provincial coordination ministry (or an officer nominated by them) shall be an ex-officio, non-voting 11th member. The term of each member of the BoG is three years – equivalent to one term of the chairman.

There are over 100 districts in the country across all provinces and a cluster of districts are represented by one region. For example, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Narowal and Gujarat fall under Sialkot region. Similarly, every region has several districts to represent the larger portion of the area.

“The elections themselves have been conducted/supervised by the Election Commissioner appointed by the Patron,” the PCB said. “It is the PCB election commissioner who has the power and responsibility for holding and monitoring fair, free and transparent elections under the PCB Constitution including those of Chairman, Regional, District, and other Cricket Associations as well as Service Organizations or Departments, whether Full or Associate Members. It is important to note that EC and electoral processes are independent of the Board.”

Some time ago, to avoid a potential conflict of interest, Haroon Rasheed had resigned from the management committee to take up the role of chief selector. PCB announced it at a press conference but clarified that it was determined there “existed no cavil” in Rasheed carrying on as chief selector as well as a management committee member, so ultimately he didn’t step down.

“It was agreed that when matters pertaining to the performance of the selection committee are discussed and debated at an MC meeting, Haroon Rasheed will recuse himself and leave the room till such time that the agenda point has not been conclusively addressed,” PCB said.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent

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