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Ifs and Buts can give birth to another chess match in PCB

The sudden appointment of Mohsin Naqvi as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent ripples through the cricketing fraternity. Especially, as he holds an important position as Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister. Meanwhile, even though Naqvi’s administrative prowess and governance abilities have been lauded, by the caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar, the political landscape surrounding the ongoing election raises questions about his stability and continuity within the PCB.

Historically, the PCB chairman’s post has been a political appointment. Naqvi’s appointment too was orchestrated through a delicate understanding between influential stakeholders – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar backed him for the role, which led to his appointment.

However, the recent election has altered the landscape. Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Independent candidates are leading in the National Assembly, leaving the PCB in a precarious position.

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Political influence creates suspense over PCB’s hierarchy due to general elections

As things stand, even if PTI-backed Independents do not form the government, their influence over the election for the PCB chairman’s post cannot be ignored. On the other hand, if the PML-N and PPP form a coalition government, another dilemma is likely to occur. The biggest question remains if they can work together and remain motivated in their earlier commitment not to interfere in PCB affairs. Especially, when the times will get harder for the national team. In case they don’t follow their previous commitment, Naqvi might get sacked as the chairman.

Notably, the PCB has witnessed such scenes before. In December 2022, Imran Khan-appointed Ramiz Raja was unceremoniously removed from the chairman’s position by then Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The interim management committee during that period, led by Najam Sethi and Zaka Ashraf, were both nominees of the PML-N and PPP.

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There remain a lot of uncertainties at the moment. A decision can be concluded only after the ongoing election. In case Imran Khan’s PTI comes to power, Naqvi is expected to get removed with the former cricketer choosing a new chairman for the cricketing board. 

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