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Sethi being rewarded for 'helping to rig elections': Imran

12 February, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain turned politician Imran Khan Tuesday lashed out at the country's newly reappointed cricket chief, alleging he was being rewarded for helping the ruling party commit fraud in last year's general elections.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reinstated Najam Sethi, a prominent journalist who was also appointed as interim Chief Minister of Punjab during last year's election campaign, as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman on Monday. His predecessor Zaka Ashraf was removed on charges of not running the board properly.

But Imran said that Sethi was being rewarded for helping to rig the result of the May elections, in which his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party won 35 of the 272 seats in the national parliament. The PTI has launched legal challenges concerning the result in hundreds of constituencies at the national and provincial levels.

"When the election tribunal rules on them we will know ... who fixed the puncture and who was rewarded with the gift of the PCB chairmanship," Imran told reporters. 'Fixing the punctures' refers to election rigging allegations. Sethi denied the allegations. "Whoever has been accusing me (of rigging in elections) ... I will take legal actions against them," Sethi told reporters.

Imran also questioned whether Sethi, who is best known as the editor of the liberal Friday Times weekly newspaper, had enough cricketing knowledge for the post. Sethi's reinstatement was the latest twist in a long running legal saga that saw Ashraf brought back as chief on January 15 by the Islamabad High Court, eight months after he was originally removed over dubious elections in the PCB.

Sethi was appointed the caretaker chairman in the interim period. Meanwhile, two petitioners challenged Ashraf's sacking in the Islamabad High Court.

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