PCB: What does it
obituary of a basketball court
cricket going through the worst of times
The Auditor General of Pakistan carried out a Special Audit and produced a Report. This has been the subject of many articles in the press and in television. The PCB amazingly has not provided the public any satisfactory comment on this.
By Malik Arshed Gilani
The PCB by law must be one of the following; A Public Limited Company, A Private Limited Company, a Government Body or an Autonomous Government Institution. In any case it is subject to Audit by the law of the land. That the Audit should be public is again a legal requirement unless so exempted by the Government. The Auditor General of Pakistan carried out a Special Audit and produced a Report. This has been the subject of many articles in the press and in television. The PCB amazingly has not provided the public any satisfactory comment on this. Why is public disclosure being avoided by current management? Could the reason be that the present Chairman was part of the financial dealings of the PCB by virtue of being on the Finance Committee during that period?
This article is intended to provide the readers the stated objectives of the Audit, its findings as laid down by the Audit Committee in its draft report and opinions of people who have been privy to this document.
The four objectives of the Report were to determine; the revenue and its proper recording and accounting, whether expenditure was incurred according to principles of financial propriety, rules and procedures, whether management of assets and receivables was transparent and in the best interest of the Board and whether PCB followed principles of merit and transparency in recruitment and compensation of employees as per the rules.
Provided below for the readers own judgment are the observations of the Audit:
* The Chairman exercised his powers unconstitutionally.
* The functions and powers of the Chairman were not defined by the Patron as required by the PCB new Constitution 2007 under section 5(2).
* The new constitution is silent about instructions concerning the decision making at the Governing Board meetings and powers to make rules. The previous 1995 Constitution was explicit on both matters.
* The PCB affairs were run on an ad hoc basis until 2007 when an ad hoc Committee approved standard operation procedures (SOP) to bring transparency and accountability in financial management and procurement.
* The internal controls across PCB were very weak. Deletion of Record in the accounting software constituted a major weakness in information and control.
* The Legal Department was a major drag on the PCB rather than being able to facilitate management of the legal affairs of the Board.
* Repeated requests by audit for records relating to transactions were ignored by PCB Management.
An instance was noted where TV rights were awarded without proper bidding.
* No procedures were in place to ensure fair renting of hospitality boxes.
* There was no mechanism in place for monitoring rent recovery from tenants.
* Review of transactions show that expenditure is not guided by principles of financial propriety and the PCB incurred expenditure without considering expected benefits. Review further showed instances of laxity with the SOP's and PPRA rules 2004 in procuring goods and services.
* The PCB does not have a proper asset recording/tracing system, thus information regarding assets is inaccurate and incomplete.
* The PCB has been incurring capital expenditure without feasibility studies. This increased the risk of expenditure being wasted.
* Lack of proper investment coupled with non compliance of applicable rules deprived the PCB of big profits that result from due diligence in the process.
* The PCB has been inert in recovering receivables thus increasing the risk of bad debts.
* The PCB hired people against non existent posts without due process. The PCB paid unauthorized bonuses and pensions thus increasing liabilities. Instances were noted of employees acting against their employment contracts.
My first comment is about the lack of a Constitution governing the PCB. I recall seeing on a television channel the Chairman of PCB who started the drama of making a new Constitution also declaring that the Patron had not directed him to amend or improve the document. Being at the time a serving army officer doing two very important tasks who never listed the shortcomings in the original document one cannot understand his motives. Maybe it just did not let him operate the PCB autocratically.
It is the considered view of people that in any corporate body similar observations would be considered reasonable evidence of rampant corruption.
Just three cases that were detailed in the Report can put this matter in its true perspective: The PCB maintained 57 Bank Accounts. One explanation could be that bank employees were also in senior positions in the Board and needed to increase deposits in their banks for 'goodwill'. The PCB withdrew Rs. 10 million in cash through a bearer cheque which has been accounted for as being paid to Inzamam Ul Haq as prize money and for 'expenses'.
Finally the PCB (National Stadium Karachi) was allotted 104.5 acres of land through Presidential Order No 57/1/CMLA dated 27th March, 1980. Subsequently through Indenture of Lease of Government Land dated Dec. 6th 1980; this plot of 104.5 acres inclusive of NSK land and structures was leased to BCCP, now, PCB for a period of 99 years. Today the PCB possesses ONLY 45.7 acres of that land resulting in an estimated loss of Rs. 5.88 billion. I can well appreciate why the PCB is short of funds.
By Aamir Bilal
Mosques, Churches, Pagodas, Temples and Synagogues are built by human beings. In fact they are symbols of man's association with the omnipotent and of their belief in the power of ultimate creator. Whenever any of these religious symbols are reduced, human feelings are so badly hurt that it sometimes results into conflicts, clashes and even wars. Sports grounds, fitness centers and courts emanate similar emotional association for the athletes that religious places have for its faithful followers.
Pakistan is a place where few sport facilities exist. Athletes who have toiled their sweat on play grounds hold great respect and emotional attachment to these places.
The Army stadium central basketball court, which was constructed in 1968-69 by the Pakistan Army and National legendry coach Abdul Wahid Qureshi, more popularly known as A.W. Qureshi in the basketball circles, holds the same feelings in my heart, because I learnt to play this fantastic game from him at this very venue. GHQ basketball court has a history to cherish. Stalwarts like Jamshed, Rashid Ali Malik, Liaqat, Sadee, Ghafoor, Naseem, Shujat, and Nawazish were produced from this court under the watchful eyes of Major Qureshi whose coaching abilities were internationally acknowledge.
He acclaimed international recognition when the United States Department of sports picked him for the 1st International basketball coach's clinic held in Kansas City in 1975 and the United State's President Mr. Gerald Ford conferred on him the distinction of 'Sports Ambassador' the same year.
Year 2009 however has so far proved unlucky for Army Basketball team. They had a close shave against the ordinary opposition of Pakistan Rangers in the semifinals of the national basketball championships and lost the final to an over-age WAPDA team with a difference of 13 points. This defeat brought an end to the uninterrupted 23 years rule of Army in the field of basketball, whose seeds were sown in the cemented basketball court of GHQ Army stadium.
The news of came to me like a shock wave and I went to call on a friend at Army Stadium Rawalpindi to find the reasons of this unassuming defeat. I knew that basketball was dead and buried in Pakistan long ago but Army was doing a great job by keeping the basketball traditions alive. After all it was Pakistan Army basketball team and not the national team that won the first ever International basketball tournament in Lahore in 1978 by defeating the formidable Saudi Arabian side in the finals, which had the services of an American professional coach, a rear commodity in those days.
I was surprised and shocked to see that the historic GHQ basketball court that hosted numerous inter services, national and international basketball matches was reduced to plain ground. I had got the answer of my query. I stood still for a while strolling down the memory lane. The nostalgic feelings took me like an autumn storm; however the train of my thoughts was soon discontinued by the shrill whistle of a security guard that forced me to return home with a heavy heart. I knew that the temple of my beloved sport, built with pain and passion by a great coach was no more there.
At the fragile age of 85 years A W. Qureshi the veteran of two Indo-Pak wars is witnessing the twilight of his life. The man who sacrificed his profession for the love of game has yet couple of more basketball courts up his sleeves. This includes the Frontier Force Regimental Centre Abbottabad basketball court, constructed in 1963 and the Para Chinar basketball court constructed in 1957, where basketball teams from South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Wana use to play the Naismith's game.
The introduction of basketball in Frontier Corps was an initiative of Major Qureshi that minimized the hostilities amongst various tribes and religious sects of the agencies and added festivity to the closed society of Kurram agency which is now riddled with bullets, missiles and artillery shells of friends and foe.
The decade of seventies witnessed the best of basketball in the country. Many international teams including China, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia visited Pakistan and played some memorable matches.
Pakistan basketball team under the coaching of Major Qureshi participated in 7th Asian Basketball Championship in Philippines (1973), 8th Asian basketball championship in Bangkok (1975), China and Malaysia international meets in 1976, 8th Asian games, Bangkok in 1978, 10th Asian basketball championship in Japan in 1979, 1st Islamic country sports in Turkey in 1980 and drew some highly encouraging results.
Pakistan basketball team won all its test matches played in Malaysia in 1976. The team won six out of nine matches during 8th Asian games of 1978 and for the first time in the history of Pakistan basketball, the team earned the final placing in 10th Asian basketball championship in Japan.
All these achievements were obtained under the unflinching resolve of one man who though small in rank was big in character. He single handedly drove the vehicle of basketball in Pakistan from the cemented court of Army stadium to the synthetic courts of Nagoya and Bangkok. He was the man who wrote the first ever rule and technical books on the game of basketball in Pakistan in Urdu and English languages and left behind a legacy of excellence in basketball that continued unabated, till he decided at his own to make a graceful exit in 1984 due to his failing health and dirty politics in the federation matters.
Army marches at its bellies and lives by its traditions. Pakistan Army has tremendous traditions to cherish. There is a long list of athletes, coaches and managers who contributed tremendously in the growth of national sports. Despite many odds including the two Indo-Pak wars the sport culture in Army had been thriving. Pakistan Army always realized the importance of sport not only for the sake of winning the coveted Quaid-e-Azam trophy at the end of national games each year, but also to promote the virtues of leadership, team work, and decision making amongst the officers and jawans of all ranks.
I am sure that the Army stadium basketball court must have been erased due to some pressing requirements which basketball lovers would digest as a bitter pill, however Army should honor its grand traditions and built a new state of the art basketball court and dedicate it to their most celebrated coach, assuring that legacies are there to last so that our next generations get an opportunity to play and enjoy this fabulous sport known for its speed, agility and breathless maneuvers.
Pakistan Army at the moment is fighting the battle of survival of Pakistan and it is indeed the most urgent assignment at hands. Mike Krzyzewski the famous Duke and US Military Academy West Point basketball coach once said that 'you can't learn to win in battle field if you don't learn to win in the sport ground.' I am sure that all concern would take necessary measures to stop the land sliding in sports standards, thus ensuring, that the obituary of the court does not become the obituary of basketball in Pakistan.
Aamir Bilal is a qualified coach [email protected]
By Dr Nauman Niaz
As Charles Dickens had started 'Tale of the Two Cities', if we pick few of his lines, they seem synonym with the present Pakistani game. 'the worst of times', 'the age of foolishness', 'the epoch of incredulity', 'the season of Darkness', 'the winter of Despair'÷'we had everything before, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way'.
With forthrightness, not with intent of blackmailing, to indulge in performance appraisal, not to reap flavours of extortion, for putting people at the PCB back to consciousness, not to join the frazzled party, I must acknowledge, criticizing the Ijaz Butt led regime is like tossing in a different orbit, since they are completely intolerant and implacable, so it appears. When I say that until recently, the workings of the PCB have been an 'epoch of incredulity', I mean there were events which delineate that the 'managerial incompetence' didn't really help PCB image to grow. And a preposterous approach to deal with Pakistan's problems with reference to hosting disputes of World Cup 2011 has reflected poorly, not only on the PCB but upon the Government of Pakistan too. Mr. Butt looks to be a complete political letdown.
Mr. Butt was appointed by the President of Pakistan, and a huge disappointment he has turned out to be. Flickering views, pointless speechifying and inability to resolve tribulations, and now a complete diplomatic failure accentuates the need of giving a new caption to the PCB: 'Lies, their fruit and man's eating it'. Allegedly, the efforts from men from Mr. Butt's inner circle to have cultivated wickedness there had been an ever raising and a thriving crop of inefficiency.
Pakistan has been completely ruled out from being hosts of ICC's 2011 World Cup and moreover the PCB has decided to meekly withdraw the case they intended to file in the International Court of Arbitration. Supposedly, and as it now amplifies that PCB weren't at it at all they were just shadow-boxing to keep showing their intents of patriotism and national service. Purportedly, PCB had no grounds to take ICC to the court and they had loose legal references to comply with. Mr. Butt's intractable behaviour not only irked other co-hosts but also left Pakistan's relationship with the ICC squeezed on a tight rope.
Moreover, Pakistan's proposal to consider UAE as hosts in their place reaffirming that the matches taken away from the troubled country on security grounds will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. ICC President David Morgan expressed that the Dubai-based ICC had looked at staging matches in a fifth country amidst speculation that games could be shifted to the UAE but the ICC board decided to hold firm with the decision that had already taken and there weren't really interested to backtrack their earlier commitment. Why did Mr. Butt create the fuss then?
Why should have they listened to the PCB particularly after Mr. Butt had managed to anger not only the ICC but also the three other countries concerned. Apparently, it was an abysmal show of diplomacy. Interestingly, PCB on one hand had decided to take ICC (with many legal lacunas unresolved) to the court and on the other they had shown their interest to take their 'home' matches to the Emirates. In this regard there were legalities involved since the World Cup 2011 hosting rights had been given to the Asian block therefore not the Emirates but places like Singapore and Malaysia would have suited their case. Second, PCB without synthesizing a Memorandum of Article (MoU) had tried jumping the gun. Retrospectively, if one tried analyzing how effective was PCB's financial management team; here a reference could be made to their MoU signed for their 'home' series shifted to Dubai and Abu Dhabi against Australia in April/May 2009.
Paradoxical as it may seem, my own criticism of the potentates of the PCB-who are usually denounced as fossilized reactionaries-is that they aren't reactionary enough.
On February 11th, 2009, PCB wrote a letter to Mr. Mazhar Khan, Administrator Emirates Cricket Board. And the very first point in the document seems absolutely mind-boggling. Someone talking about a 'home' series to be held on a 'neutral' venue admitted in clear words to give a 50% share to the organizers despite PCB being the host. It was something gullible. Despite the committee being led by a 'financial wizard', PCB ended up on the wrong end of the stick. They were virtually fleeced.
PCB also sought clarification from Mr. Mazhar regarding the basis of arriving at the estimates of gross ticket sales and whether the quoted figure in his proposal was actually US$ 3,300,000? And interesting, despite owning the premier product (the Pakistan team), the PCB weren't reluctant to outlandishly agree to give 25% commission to the host on stadium advertisement, title sponsorship, or co-sponsorship. It looked as if PCB were desperately obliged that Dubai and Abu Dhabi cricket authorities were doing them the favour by hosting their 'home' series. Dubai Sports City needed a launching pad and Pakistan team was a premier product. The roles should have been reversed in contrast to what they shaped up with they should have benefited the PCB financially. Seemingly, there were glaring ambiguities in clauses 7, 8, 11, 26, 27, 32 and 33, where PCB had forfeited their prerogatives being the host board.
It was widely evident from the MoU that Mr. Mohammad Naeem, Mr. Butt's brother-in-law and their financial goliath had failed miserably to earn PCB the returns they so richly deserved. PCB should have been really lucky not to be allowed hosting their World Cup 2011 matches in Emirates otherwise they would have been ripped off in broad daylight, such has been their competence and marketing/financial insight.
Over and above, as alleged, the esteemed committee of the PCB also agreed to barter the radio rights, a unique happening in the corporate world globally. Worst signing of the MOU was delayed and it irked the potential buyers.
With reference to the World Cup 2011, Mr. Butt vociferously stated that the PCB hoped to receive up to US$ 18 M after settling a legal dispute with the ICC to some quite an unnecessary predicament. Trying to glorify his negotiated attempts, Mr. Butt promptly converted the figures into dollars into rupees (1 billion) (US$ 12 million). And he further calculated the total remuneration to be received up to Rs 1.5 billion. As reported, though still not verified, the ICC had promised to give Pakistan its approximate share of US$ 10 M (US$ 750,000 per match). It's not that the figures are exaggerated but still PCB's past record suggests that we need to keep our fingers crossed.
And heartening, Mr. Butt expressed that a clause had been added in their latest agreement with the ICC according to which international cricket could return to Pakistan when the ICC and other teams were satisfied the security situation in the country had sufficiently improved but no proposed date or year was given. International cricket could re-start by 2020?
If Mr. Butt had to draw ICC to the table why did he, at the first place tried threatening them taking them to the court? Why expensive and expansive legal experts were hired? Why couldn't he run into a dialogue at the first place instead of behaving unthinkingly and roguishly?
In quest of integrity, there was a report in a newspaper that Butt had promised Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister that PCB would develop and lay three turf pitches in a famous educational institution at Colombo, and regrettably, because of Mr. Butt's failure to follow up on the issue, Pakistan's High Commissioner in Sri Lanka had written a letter to Foreign Ministry asking to remind the PCB Chairman about his promise; we mustn't be harsh. Dementia could prevail in geriatric population, so we shouldn't care hoots? Interestingly, if he could remember, he handpicked Salim Altaf and now has sacked him unceremoniously, not before a handful of intrigues to get him out? Wavering, the policy makers at PCB have been?
Mr. Butt in one of his interviews had also termed the critiques of his regime 'na‘ve' telling the world that they didn't know the ground realities. He attempted to discuss that ICC or the IDI had the powers to shift matches from any host country and if it was so, then why at the first place PCB jacked-up its resources to file a legal case against the International Cricket Conference? Who was being na‘ve?
It's not, perhaps, wrong to say that the instincts of competency, discipline and professionalism, the spirit of co-operation and the fine sensitive honour which essential to true sport, have virtually been absent in Mr. Butt's led regime and the reasons is the deficiency of organised roles.