PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has expressed disappointment over interference of political functionaries into the ongoing dispute between the Board and former skipper Shahid Afridi [ Images ], saying the act could damage Pakistan cricket.
In a statement released by the PCB, Butt said some political functionaries are extending their support with a view to influence the disciplinary process being followed by PCB despite Afridi pleading guilty to the offences.
Butt was apparently referring to a telephone call made by the leader of opposition party, Nawaz Sharif [ Images ] and his extension of support for the all-rounder.
"PCB has been criticised for being ineffective in the past in the context of discipline. It would now appear an attempt by some forces to prevent the Board from implementing the code of conduct and their act may well damage Pakistan cricket, if they continue to lend support to Afridi and exert undue pressure on PCB for their non-cricketing interests," Butt said.
Butt said that an understanding needs to be developed among all stakeholders, media and the politicians that no one is above the law and that for maintaining discipline within the team, it is absolutely imperative that the PCB carries out its process without any fear or favour.
On Sunday, the Board officially confirmed that a number of political functionaries are interfering in what the PCB termed as essentially an internal disciplinary matter of the Board.
"The PCB notes with great concern that an internal disciplinary action against Shahid Afridi is being converted into a political issue. A number of political functionaries are interfering in what is essentially an internal disciplinary matter of the PCB," the statement said.
The Board further stated that despite the extremely irresponsible attitude and inflammatory statements of Afridi, PCB reiterate that he will be given every opportunity to state his position and make his case in front of the disciplinary committee.
It also maintained that the party, if aggrieved by the decision of the committee, will have the right to approach an Appellate Tribunal comprising of retired Supreme Court/High Court judges.
Afridi, who recently retired from international cricket after being removed from ODI captaincy, returned home late night to a resounding welcome at the Karachi airport.