Pak National Assembly standing committee chief Iqbal resigns

Karachi: The Chairman of the National Assembly standing committee on sports has finally resigned after the refusal of President Asif Ali Zardari and government to enforce recommendations of the committee to improve the cricket affairs in the country.

Iqbal Muhammad Ali who belongs to the Mutthaida Qaumi Movement announced his resignation at a press conference in Islamabad stating he was resigning because he was frustrated with the state of sports in the country.

“I am also upset because although the committee has sent several recommendations to the chief patron on cricket matters no recommendation has been taken seriously or implemented,” he said.

In Pakistan the president appoints the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and since he took charge in October, 2008, the PCB chief, Ijaz Butt has continued to enjoy the patronage of the President despite coming in for severe criticism from various quarters for the way he has handled cricket affairs.

In the last two years, Pakistan cricket has faced some of its worst scandals and controversies including the recent spot fixing allegations against three players on the England tour and this month when wicketkeeper, Zulqarnain Haider fled the team hotel in Dubai to land in London seeking asylum claiming he was under threat from bookmakers.

Iqbal said that Pakistan cricket had faced one of its worst periods in recent times and although the committee kept on advising the board Chairman to improve governance he didn’t do it.

“The steps and reforms now being taken by the board on the instructions of the ICC we had advised the board to do these long time back,” he noted.

The NA committee has had several hearings with the PCB officials including Butt on cricket issues and there have been direct confrontations between them.

Several times Iqbal and his committee members have demanded the resignation of Butt.

Iqbal also said that he had submitted his resignation to the speaker because the government has not bothered to implement any of the recommendations by this committee for improvement and betterment of sports in the country.

“I don’t want to continue in these circumstances the remaining members of the committee can decide for themselves if they want to continue or step down,” Iqbal added.