‘Replacing PCB chairman will be eyewash’

KARACHI: Sensing a change in the top management of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the former chief executive of the board Arif Ali Khan Abassi on Wednesday urged the government in waiting to empower the regional associations which, he said, are the actual stakeholders of the game in the country.

“Only replacing the PCB chairman, which looks ominous, will not serve the purpose,” he said. It will be a mere eyewash”, Abbasi told this correspondent. “The General body of the regional associations should elect an executive council of 12 individuals to call the shots.” The former cricket board chief executive was of the opinion that the patron should appoint the PCB chairman as usual. “Since all the general body members can’t meet frequently, therefore the executive council should be given the mandate to assemble 5-6 times in a year to run the affairs”, the former PCB head opined.

Abbasi also called for a separate mechanism for the Pakistan Super League (PSL). “The PSL is purely a commercial venture which should operate independently with a competent businessman as it’s head,” he concluded.

Imran Khan opts for austere oath-taking ceremony, decides against inviting foreign personalities

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman and prime minister-designate Imran Khan has decided against inviting foreign dignitaries and celebrities to his planned oath-taking ceremony, instead opting for a simple event, DawnNewsTVreported on Thursday.

The PTI, having bagged 115 NA seats and after securing the support of key allies and roping in several independent winners, looks set to form the next government, with its chairman in pole position to become the next PM of Pakistan.

To celebrate the fulfillment of Khan’s long-held wish to become the premier, the party had initially planned to invite several foreign personalities, with the names of Indian PM Narendra Modi, Bollywood superstar Amir Khan and cricket legends Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavasker and Navjot Singh Sidhu all in the mix.

However, in an apparent change of heart today, Khan has opted against a fancy ceremony. “The PTI chairman has directed to stage the oath-taking event with austerity,” PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said. “He will take his oath in a simple ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr(President House).”

“It has been decided that no foreign personalities will be invited to the ceremony — it will be a completely national event. Only a few close friends of Imran Khan will be invited.”

“There will be no show of extravagance at the event,” added Chaudhry.

A day earlier on Wednesday, Chaudhry had told reporters that the party had asked the Foreign Office to apprise its leadership regarding extending invitation to the heads of states and foreign leaders of different countries especially in view of the paucity of time. “We are awaiting response of the Fore­ign Office,” he had said.

Better relations with India

Soon after realising that the PTI had achieved a comfortable position to form a government at the Centre, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, Khan in his victory speech on July 26 had expressed the hope of building better relations with India, stating that better relations between Pakistan and India would be “good for all of us”.

He had claimed that he had more friends in India than any other Pakistani leader had. He also called for resolution of core issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir dispute, for meaningful progress in ties. He said that if the Indian leadership was ready, Islamabad, too, was ready to improve ties with New Delhi.

Legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gawaskar used to describe Khan as his younger brother and enjoyed a very cordial relationship with him. Gawaskar is a player to whom Khan — one of the fastest bowlers of his time — dismissed on a number of occasion in different test matches.

Likewise, Kapil Dev is one of the world class all-rounders among the group of four professional cricketers in the 1980s. Others were Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadley. Although they were arch-rivals professionally but outside the stadium they were good friends.

Indian superstars such as Amitabh Bachan and Aamir Khan as well as the late Princess of Wales Diana and other stars had attended Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital fund-raising ceremonies held in Pakistan as well as abroad.

Recently, the three famous Khans of Bollywood — Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan — had felicitated the cricketer-turned politician on his success and even expressed their desire to attend his oath-taking ceremony.

Firebrand PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry sentenced for contempt of court

The Supreme Court on Thursday held PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry in contempt of court, and sentenced him till the rising of the court, effectively rendering him disqualified to contest elections for a period of five years,

During his speech at a PML-N rally in Jarranwala in January 2018, Chaudhry had said: “There was an era when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary, which is the country’s highest institution, is also full of PCO [Provisional Constitution Order] idols.”

In the same speech, Chaudhry said: “Mian Nawaz Sharif, throw them out, throw him out of the court. They will not give justice but will continue their injustices.”

On February 1, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of “contemptuous speeches”, and on February 6, the top court issued Chaudhry a show-cause notice, ordering him to file his response.

On July 11, the apex court, after hearing Chaudhry’s arguments, had closed the case and reserved its judgement, which it delivered today.

The three-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed handed him a Rs100,000 fine and sentenced him till the rising of the court.

Legal observers believe that Chaudhry stands disqualified from contesting elections for five years under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, which says: “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen a member of the parliament if he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion or acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the armed forces of Pakistan.”

Chaudhry had contested the General Election from NA-102 (Faisalabad-II) but lost to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Nawab Shair by almost 12,000 votes.

The verdict in the contempt case against Chaudhry, and his subsequent disqualification for five years, is similar to that of his fellow PML-N leader and former privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz.

Wah Cantt Police booked 2 persons for allegedly assaulting a union council chairman who supported Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

TAXILA: The Wah Cantonment police on Tuesday booked two persons for allegedly assaulting and manhandling a union council chairman who supported Ch Nisar Ali Khan in recently held general elections.

According to FIR registered with the police, the union council chairman nominated six persons in his FIR, alleging that they on the behest of local PTI leaders subjected him to ‘torture’.

Wah Cantonment police have registered a case under sections 341, 506, 148 and 149 PPC and launched a hunt for the nominated accused.