Zaka Ashraf, the recently appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Managing Committee chairman, is facing removal from his position as a result of continuing political developments in the country, according to The News on Thursday.
According to reports, the unexpected effort to replace Ashraf is directly related to the Pakistani government’s recent transfer to caretaker status — which occurred on August 9 — as the country prepares for approaching elections.
With rumors of Ashraf’s possible departure, previous de facto PCB Chairman Najam Sethi — who held the office until December 2022 — is said to be a top candidate to reclaim it.
Sethi voluntarily dropped out of the chairmanship campaign earlier this year, citing the dynamics between Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif, two significant political personalities.
However, with the Pakistan Election Commission’s recent direction advocating the withdrawal of political appointments, Sethi’s probable return to the PCB leadership has gained traction.
Historically, political ties have influenced the post of PCB chairman, causing changes in leadership as the political landscape shifts.
Ashraf’s appointment to the position in July 2023, replacing Sethi, was a break with convention. The Pakistan People’s Party’s demand that their nominee take over as PCB chairman helped Ashraf’s appointment, disrupting Sethi’s seven-month tenure.
According to reports, the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) contacted the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, naming Ashraf as a political appointee targeted for removal in accordance with the Election Commission’s decision.
The goal is to provide a fair playing field for the voting process and to eliminate any potential biases caused by political appointments.
Zaka’s probable departure from the PCB leadership, only two months after assuming the position, has generated concern.
The circumstances surrounding this transfer suggest a potential shift in how the PCB chairman position is chosen, signaling a possible shift away from the usual political appointment process.