Ex-chief of Pakistan Cricket Board calls Imran govt’s bluff on Kashmir

at 2:15 pm
Najam Sethi

NEW DELHI: It is well known that the Pakistani establishment, in an attempt to remain relevant, drags the so-called ‘Kashmir issue’ into everything, even if there is no relation at all.

The latest is the grand-standing by the Imran Khan government that it has decided that public broadcaster PTV will not telecast the upcoming Pakistan-England cricket series to be held in UK because the rights of the series are held by Indian broad­caster Sony TV.

Federal Minister for Infor­mation and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the decision was taken because of the Pakistan government’s stand on the ‘Kashmir issue’.

This theory has been smashed by former Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi, who termed it as “drama” of the Imran Khan government, and highlighted how the Pakistani establishment keeps fooling the country’s citizens in the name of Kashmir.

He said PTV’s inability to telecast the series is not due to any Kashmir issue but because the public broadcaster of Pakistan is not able to meet the demands of Sony TV, according to Dawn Newspaper of Pakistan.

The newspaper, quoting sources, said, PTV owes arrears of six years to Sony TV, which has the rights to cover the series comprising three One-day Internationals and three 20-20 games.

“It is all drama being staged (by Imran Khan government) in order to gain political mileage by using the name of Kashmir. The fact is that the government is using pressure tactics while seeking to reduce the money being demanded by the broadcaster [for the Eng­land series], which is an Indian company,” Sethi told the newspaper.

“After the [broadcast] deal is finalised the PTV will make an agreement with Sony UK or some Dubai-based company associated with Sony to claim that the rights are not directly bought from the Indian broadcaster,” said Sethi, who is a respected journalist of Pakistan.

The former PCB chief said matters, such as telecasting an international cricket series featuring Pakistan, never needed any approval from the Cabinet in the past.

He said it was a long-held PTV tradition to live telecast the matches involving the national team playing anywhere in the world.