ISLAMABAD: The future aspirants for the coveted post of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman spent a busy day in the capital Wednesday, lobbying and brandishing their credentials reaching the corridors of power by using their respective connections.
While Najam Sethi, the sitting chairman of the Management Committee (MC) met PCB patron-in-chief Shahbaz Sharif, former Chairman Board Zaka Ashraf met the Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ehsan Mazari at his office Wednesday evening.
Zaka, a PPP stalwart is strongly backed by Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto for the post of board chairman. In a more than an hour meeting with Zaka Ashraf, the minister assured him of full support for the post of chairman in accordance with the party policy.
“We have clear instructions from our party leadership to support Zaka Ashraf credentials as his previous tenure as the PCB Chairman turned out to be a real success. He is our stalwart and a fine administrator as he has proved during his previous tenure. Even the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was his brainchild,” the minister, when questioned by ‘The News’, said.
A couple of months back and before the PCB MC’s extension notification, ‘The News’ broke the story on Zaka Ashraf’s being a strong contender for the post of a permanent PCB chairman.
“There is no rule and moral ethics that caretakers start contesting elections when he was only appointed to make necessary preparations for free and fair elections. Secondly, since the sports Ministry or for that matter IPC Ministry falls within the PPP ambit in the coalition government, it is our right to have a PPP-backed candidate for the post. We cannot interfere in Ministries where PML (N) or JUI have their ministers and expect everyone to respect our mandate also,” Mazari said.
When questioned on the purpose of Wednesday’s meeting with Zaka Ashraf, he said he has been nominated by the PPP leadership as the future chairman PCB, the meeting was meant to discuss the future set-up and formalities involved.
“We hope and expect that we will soon be receiving Zaka Ashraf's name as one of the PM nominees for the post of PCB Chairman. The summary we have moved recently was carrying his name with a request to the PM.”
Zaka Ashraf on the occasion appreciated the Minister's role in streamlining sports in the country.
“I am really thankful to the minister for the role he played in broadening the base of sports infrastructure and even making efforts for free and fair PCB elections. The Mazari family has a history of contributing for Pakistan and I am glad that Mazari is carrying forward that legacy,” Zaka Ashraf told The News.
Zaka Ashraf also briefed the Minister on the importance of departmental and regional cricket and the role it had played in development of cricket in the country. The PCB MC extension expires on June 21 and before that efforts are being made to conduct the Chairman elections. A meeting has already been convened on June 12 by the MC Chairman Sethi to discuss the formalities and to give the Electoral College the required final shape.