A petition challenging the formation of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) women's wing has been filed in Lahore High Court. The court has asked the PCB chairman; the head of the women's cricket wing, and the federal sports ministry to file their replies by May 17.
The petition was filed by Shaiza Khan, the president of Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association (PWCCA), whose body has been embroiled in a long-running battle with various PCB administrations (and, at one time, two other independent bodies) to be recognised as the legitimate body for women's cricket in Pakistan.
Khan has already played in three Tests and 40 ODIs and was widely acknowledged as being the sole driving force behind women's cricket in Pakistan in the 1990s.
She told telepk.com that setting up a women's wing is in direct contravention of the board's constitution. "There is nothing in the constitution to say they can set up a women's wing," she said. "They have to make an amendment to it."
The board currently operates, and has done so since 1999, on an ad-hoc basis. Despite sustained criticism and protest, the constitution remains in limbo, pending approval from law authorities.
But Khan points out that even operating on an ad-hoc basis prevents the board from making any structural changes. "There is a legal ruling from 1995 that says that the ad-hoc committee cannot make structural changes like this."
The PWCCA has been recognised as the official women's cricket body by various board chairmen in the past, including Arif Abbasi and Tauqir Zia. It was under Shaharyar Khan's tenure that the women's wing was set up by the PCB, much to the consternation of Khan.
"Shaharyar Khan had sent us a letter discussing cooperation," she said, "but he withdrew the letter a few days before our meeting with the IWCCA in South Africa about the merger of women's cricket bodies with national bodies."
Khan has also met the incumbent PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf in February who has offered to look into the matter, but she has refrained from contacting the ICC. "We haven't been in touch with them because the matter needs to be sorted out here in Pakistan, and not outside.
Though the wing was set up in 2004, Khan says it has taken this long to find a lawyer willing to fight the case. "We want to reinstitute the PWCCA with its own constitution. That is the aim of challenging the formation of the women's wing."