Government of Pakistan has formally notified the new PCB constitution with certain amendments, according to which its patron-in-chief, Prime Minister of Pakistan, will have no powers to dissolve PCB or remove its chairman.

The clause of PM’s powers of dissolving the board or removing the chairman has been removed completely, effectively making the PCB an independent body. This is the fourth time in the last 12 years that the PCB constitution has been redrafted.

The Prime Minister of the country, according to the new constitution, is still a patron of the board, but his power to dictate to it has been curbed. Earlier, his general policy directions were compulsory to implement, but will now, constitutionally at least, only be up for consideration. “The patron may, from time to time, give to the board general policy directions for its consideration,” clause 5.3 reads.

It was witnessed earlier that the former patrons used to use the power to dissolve the PCB and remove the chairmen. Soon after taking over as Prime Minister once again, Mian Nawaz Sharif, former PCB patron, immediately dissolved the board of governors and removed the then-chairman Zaka Ashraf. The former patron then made a management committee, which picked the new PCB chairman from among its eight members, which ultimately brought Najam Sethi to power.

Changes of government have always rung changes at the PCB because the prime minister has held absolute power with the board. This has hindered the PCB’s ability to push through a long-term vision, with the board beholden to the desires of its incoming patron every few years. But the new constitution makes a significant tweak that eradicates the ability of the patron to dissolve the board of governors altogether.

When Imran Khan won a general election in 2018, Sethi’s future became the subject of intense speculation, with the two of them having a famously poor relationship. With the prime minister allowed – according to the then PCB constitution – to change the PCB chairman if he so desired, it seemed unlikely Sethi would be able to stay on beyond Imran formally taking charge. In what was widely seen as an anticipation of his impending removal once Imran became prime minister, Sethi tendered his resignation just before Imran was due to take office, leading to Ehsan Mani being ushered in.

The patron’s role is now more narrowly worded in Clause 32.5, giving them only oversight authority and the ability to launch an audit if they believed financial mismanagement may have taken place at the board. “Notwithstanding anything contained in this clause, the patron in his exclusive discretion to be exercised, for reasons to be recorded in writing, after being reasonably satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of financial mismanagement within the board, may direct conducting of a special audit of the board’s accounts. The audit report shall only be submitted to the Patron for his consideration,” the clause reads.

To many, this change might seem a calculated political ploy by the current patron-in-chief, with Imran already having made one intervention which resulted in Mani becoming chairman of the PCB. But whether the constitution, and indeed the institution that is the PCB, is sturdy enough to withstand a future patron-in-chief looking to shake things up at the PCB once more, only time will tell.

Until now, chairmen had the authority to act as executives of the board who tried to implement policy they had proposed themselves, which according to Mani was a conflict of interest. “The offices of the chairman and the chief executive have been split. The Managing Director has now been redesignated as the Chief Executive,” said the PCB spokesman.

The new constitution tackled governance loopholes related to the administration of cricket and the functioning of its governing body, bringing it in line with the best practices of corporate governance. “To strengthen governance structures, Clause 12 (c) has been added, which requires the Board to implement best corporate governance practices that promote ethical culture in the Board, while Nominations, HR & Remuneration, and Risk Management Committees have been introduced through Clause 12 (h),” he added.

The PCB spokesman revealed that as per Clause 49 (1), the existing Board of Governor (BoG) shall continue for a period until, at least, four members of the BoG are notified from amongst a pool of seven members (three Cricket Associations and four independent members).

The composition of the BoG will eventually be as follows: Three members being Presidents of the Cricket Associations (on rotation basis as per applicable regulations to be shared in due course); Two members nominated by the Patron; Four independent members, including at least one female member; Chief Executive of the PCB and Federal Secretary of the Ministry of IPC as ex-officio (non-voting) member, he added.

He said according to the new constitution, 16 regional cricket associations will be replaced by six cricket associations, namely Balochistan Cricket Association, Central Punjab Cricket Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cricket Association, Northern Cricket Association, Sindh Cricket Association and Southern Punjab Cricket Association.