The four-month tenure of the administration led by Ashraf is due to end on November 5, at the end of this week. But there is no certainty that it will, even as the charges of the management-committee member indicate that alarm and unhappiness with Ashraf’s chairmanship is at its peak, both within the administration and outside of it.
Zulfiqar Malik, the management-committee member, made the allegations in an email to Ashraf and the management committee. The email, seen by ESPNcricinfo, is copied to the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry, which has oversight over sports in Pakistan. In his email, Malik has accused Ashraf and the administration of:
“I have noted some flagrant misdoings and unconstitutional decisions by management that I wish to bring on record,” Malik writes. He says the email is an attempt “to absolve myself from the unconstitutional decisions and wrongdoings which have taken place over the period of time without consultation or approval of most members”.
The two most serious issues are the lack of movement on board elections as well as the scope of this administration’s work beyond the prescribed daily decision making.
“[But] this MC led by Mr Zaka Ashraf has not confined itself to day to day affairs and has taken many long term decisions which violate the mandate given to this MC,” Malik writes, going on to cite several examples of the appointments the board has made as breaches of this mandate.
“Turning deaf ears on IPC Ministry’s directives… for holding Chairman election was the most serious violation that Zaka Ashraf and this MC committed”.
In response, the PCB said, “Every decision is taken according to the constitution.” The board also defended the nature of its decision-making, saying, “Any and all decisions have been taken to ensure day to day operations of the PCB continue unencumbered.”
The email was sent on October 3. A week later, the IPC asked the PCB for a comprehensive report on their operations, including updates on progress towards elections, details of all appointments they have made, and contracts they have signed. The ask was to have been treated as “Most immediate”, but the PCB has not since provided a report.
“Matters between IPC and PCB are internal and PCB would not like to offer a comment on its dealings with IPC,” the board said. “Needless to add that there exists a constant flow of communication between PCB and IPC.”
“We are left stranded here… Our board is supposed to own us. It is a terrible feeling to know your board will take credit for your success, but disown you when things don’t go your way”
A Pakistan player to ESPNcricinfo
“We are left stranded here,” one of the players told ESPNcricinfo. “The entire team is under so much pressure from back home. Our board is supposed to own us. It is a terrible feeling to know your board will take credit for your success, but disown you when things don’t go your way.”
The PCB said: “It is a channel’s discretion and policy to determine what or what not to air. PCB has no say or control on channel’s editorial policy.”
Ashraf is said to have met with the interim prime minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar in Islamabad in recent days. As patron of the board, Kakar is also the holder of Ashraf’s destiny. Details of the meeting are not yet known. But it did lead one official to suggest that Ashraf’s main objective through this tenure has been to secure an extension, at least until a more favourable political dispensation takes charge at national level.
For the moment, as of November 5, Ashraf’s management committee will cease to exist, and unless a government notification is issued, that will throw an already embattled board into a legal and leadership vacuum. It is not improbable that a notification comes over the weekend, though it is more likely that something emerges at the start of next week.
Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo