Can Mohsin Naqvi Be PCB Chairman and Interior Minister At The Same Time?

Rather surprisingly, there is nothing in the law that prohibits Mohsin Naqvi from occupying both the office of PCB Chairman and Federal Interior Minister at the same time. A complaint to the ICC however, could complicate matters.

Can Mohsin Naqvi Be PCB Chairman and Interior Minister At The Same Time?

The appointment of Mohsin Raza Naqvi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), as the Minister of Interior has definitely raised some eyebrows. While it seems that the Interior Minister will not be relinquishing either of the two roles, cricket pundits and legal experts are questioning whether this appointment covers all ethical and legal basis for one individual to hold both offices. 

Mohsin Naqvi became the Chairman of the PCB following the resignation of Zaka Ashraf a few days before the country’s general elections. While concurrently holding the post of caretaker CM Punjab at the time, his eligibility came into question but was justified by the election commissioner of PCB Khawar Shah. Since the position of CM Punjab is not an “office of profit,” Mohsin Naqvi’s election to the Chairmanship was not deemed a conflict of interest. Moreover, the general elections were right around the corner, and Naqvi’s tenure as Chief Minister was about to end, therefore silencing the debate regarding the legality of the dual role.

However, with his recent appointment to the office of the Interior Minister, a rather longer term position, people are wondering whether he will be giving up the post of Chairman PCB. With no indications to that effect so far, Mohsin Naqvi has announced, however, that he will not be drawing his salary as an interior minister. This is to ensure that the role is not considered an “office of profit,” therefore indicating that he plans on keeping both roles. 

Past precedent regarding this matter actually favors Naqvi. From 1949 to 1953, Justice Cornelius, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, served as the board’s Chairman while also serving as the Law Secretary from 1950 to 1951 and then as the Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. One must, however, highlight that the PCB operated under a completely different set of rules back then. Nevertheless, the current constitution of PCB, that came into effect in 2014, does not bar a person from taking up the position of the Chairman while holding a different government office side-by-side.

The Constitution’s silence on the matter is owed to the fact that something like this was never envisioned when it was drafted back in 2014. The contenders back then, Mr. Najam Sethi, Mr. Sheheryar Khan and Mr. Zaka Ashraf did not hold any other office, so such a thing did not appear to be a pressing question. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC), however, has a strong view on this matter and does not tolerate political intervention in cricket boards. It has previously suspended Sri Lanka's cricket governing body over not fulfilling “the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.”

The suspension was triggered when Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) President approached the ICC over his removal by the Sports Minister of Sri Lanka. After the suspension, Mr. Silva remained on as President. In Pakistan’s case, Mohsin Naqvi occupying two offices may be regarded as an intervention in PCB’s matter by the government. Pakistan can, thus, face a similar suspension from the ICC. This seems very unlikely though, due to the absence of an aggrieved party that would reach out to the ICC.

At this point, the constitution of the PCB and the laws set out by the ICC seem to be in conflict with each other and only a complaint to the ICC can rectify this. It must be highlighted that the complainant would also have to cover the legal costs. This deterrent makes it probable that there will not be a complaint to the ICC and Mohsin Naqvi shall continue to hold the two offices.