PCB sacks Chief Operating Officer Salim Altaf

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt admitted on Monday to sacking his Chief Operating Officer (COO) Salim Altaf.

‘Salim Altaf has been relieved of his duties in a unanimous decision by the governing board,’ the PCB said in a short message late Monday announcing the long-awaited sacking.

It said Wasim Bari would fill the post on a temporary basis.

The 65-year-old Altaf, a former fast bowler who played 21 Tests for Pakistan between 1967 and 1978, was appointed to the position when Butt took over in October 2008.

But Altaf developed differences with the chairman over administration matters which led to his sacking, his second in two years.

Former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf sacked Altaf from the board in June 2008 for leaking sensitive information to the press.

Altaf said on Tuesday he had not yet received a letter from the PCB.

‘I have yet to receive any letter from the PCB and will go to the office as usual and will give my reaction to the news once I get the orders,’ Altaf told AFP.

Salim claimed that he did nothing wrong during his five years association with the PCB on different posts, so, he was not really afraid of anything.

Himself a lawyer, Altaf said he reserved the right to take legal action to get the decision reversed.

Altaf was first appointed manager of the Pakistan team to India in early 2005 before taking the post of director in the PCB.

The then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan also sidelined Altaf and appointed him director special projects to look after matters relating to the World Cup 2011.

The chairman, who had sidelined Salim from working due to unknown reasons for the last six months, wanted to remove him in the last meeting of the Governing Board held at Karachi on Aug 13 but deferred from doing so in the end. However, Ijaz with the assistance of some close members of the Board continued to get signatures from a majority of the members, enabling him to remove him, finally.

Surprisingly, Salim a well-educated, popular and honest official has been unable to work with any PCB chairman as he also remained in trouble with previous chairmen such as Shaharyar M. Khan, Dr Nasim Ashraf and now Ijaz, as well.

Sources said that though there were no specific allegations levelled on Salim, it is the domain of the Governing Board members to appoint or remove a COO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Sources also pointed towards the fact that some GB members signed upon the removal while adding a term that from now on the COO would be appointed through their consent.

Ijaz had imposed Salim on the GB members just like he had imposed his close relative Mohammad Naeem on the GB to take on as financial advisor, a post, which does not exist in PCB’s constitution. Though the GB did give special approval to Ijaz to appoint his relative Naeem as financial adviser, the tenure granted to him was till March 31, 2009, which has expired now. And since no further extension has been granted to Naeem, he is handling the important financial department only because the chairman wants him to.

But when contacted, Ijaz refused to confirm the news, saying he would be able to give his reaction regarding the matter on Tuesday.

Salim also refused to make any comment on it, saying that he had no information about it anyway.

Altaf’s sacking is the latest in a string of controversies to hit Pakistani cricket over the past decade, ranging from allegations of match-fixing and doping scandals to the sacking of captains, coaches and board officials.

Foreign teams have also refused to tour Pakistan over security fears, which led to the relocation of the Champions Trophy and the World Cup 2011 from the troubled country.

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