ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Monday expressed concern over the failure of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to prevent cricketers from meeting bookies in Dubai where the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is in progress.
A few days ago, Islamabad United duo Sharjeel Khan and Khalild Latif were sent home from Dubai by the authorities after they confessed to their links to an international syndicate trying to corrupt the PSL.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), during a meeting at the Pakistan Sports Complex, discussed the scandal that has jolted Pakistani cricket fans.
The meeting was presided over by chairman of the committee Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan. As per the agenda of the meeting, it was to finalise the Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) budget.
But at the outset of the meeting, Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Iqbal Mohammad Ali started speaking on the issue of match-fixing in the PSL and demanded strict disciplinary action against those involved in the scam.
He also called for resignation of all PCB officials, including PSL Chairman Najam Sethi. The lawmaker, who has been focussing on the PCB affairs, said PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan was a weak administrator and it was Mr Sethi who was calling the shots at the board and the PSL.
Mr Ali urged Minister for IPC Riaz Pirzada to order an inquiry into the match-fixing scam which had become a source of defamation of the country in the world.
The minister said he had sought a report from the PCB and would take action in the light of the findings of the report.
He defended the appointment of the PCB chairman and said that the government had certainly appointed a right person to the post.
Rana Afzal said that the committee should wait for the report of an inquiry committee constituted by the PCB.
After getting a cold response from the minister and the committee, Mr Ali boycotted the meeting. Later talking to Dawn, he alleged that the committee members belonging to the ruling party, including the minister, did not want to take strict action against corrupt elements in the PCB. “It seems that many are involved in the match-fixing scam. Credit goes to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for exposing this racket,” he said.
He alleged that the PCB management had destroyed cricket of the country and Najam Sethi was trying to turn the PSL into a private company to ensure his future job.
“I have also written to the Federal Investigation Agency and the National Accountability Bureau, asking them to conduct inquiries into the scandal,” he said.
“If there is no corruption, why I am not being provided audit report of the last edition of the PSL,” Mr Ali added.
During the meeting, Mohammad Shafqat Hayat Khan called for including someone from the government side in the inquiry committee.
The meeting said that the reports of the inquiries ordered by the PCB and the ICC should be shared with the committee in its next meeting to enable it to take action on the matter.
The committee stressed the need for removing “corrupt elements’’ from the PCB to save reputation of the country.
Earlier, the panel scrutinised and approved budgetary proposals under the Public Sector Development Programme for projects of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and its attached departments for 2017-18.
The PSB director general briefed the committee on the ongoing, newly approved and unapproved projects of the board.
During a discussion on the construction of Narowal Sports Complex, the committee voiced concern over delay in completion of the project.
The IPC minister informed the committee about the reasons for the delay and said that 70 per cent of the work had been completed and the remaining would be completed shortly.
The IPC secretary told the committee that the ministry had 13 ongoing projects with a total cost of Rs.2119.728 million.