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Obituary: Former Pakistan Cricket chairman and diplomat Shaharyar Khan

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Shaharyar Khan, the former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and esteemed diplomat, passed away at the age of 89 on March 23. A pivotal figure in the restoration of cricket ties with India in the early 2000s, Khan, born in Bhopal, was also a cousin of former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

Throughout his illustrious career, Khan served as Pakistan’s foreign secretary from 1990 to 1994, as well as holding diplomatic positions as High Commissioner in New Delhi and the United Kingdom. He led the PCB from 2003 to 2006, overseeing two historic tours by India to Pakistan, and later served another term from 2014 to 2017, reported PTI.

In 1994, at the start of the Rwandan genocide, Khan was appointed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary-General, as United Nations special representative in Kigali, an experience which he later turned into a book, The Shallow Graves of Rwanda, reported The Telegraph.

As a manager of the Pakistan cricket team during critical tours in 1999 and the 2003 Cricket World Cup, Khan brought his expertise to the forefront. Additionally, he hailed from the distinguished royal family of Bhopal.

Khan’s legacy extended beyond cricket administration, as he authored several books reflecting on his experiences in both foreign relations and cricket.

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In an interview last year, he expressed regret over his inability to restore regular bilateral Test cricket ties with India during his final tenure as PCB chief, a relationship suspended since 2007 due to strained diplomatic relations, PTI reported.

One of the notable controversies during Khan’s tenure as PCB chairman was Pakistan’s forfeit of the Oval Test to England in 2006, which he attributed to then-captain Inzamam-ul-Haq. He later voiced concerns regarding Inzamam’s influence on introducing religious elements within the team.

Mohsin Naqvi, the current PCB chairman, conveyed heartfelt condolences on behalf of the board, acknowledging Khan’s invaluable contributions to Pakistan cricket. “Pakistan Cricket will stay indebted to the late Shaharyar Khan for his commendable role as head of the board and for his services in the growth and development of the game in the country,” said Naqvi.

Later on he went on to become ambassador to Jordan and head of Pakistan’s mission to the UN in Geneva. He was High Commissioner in London from 1987 to 1990, reported The Telegraph.

Following his retirement as a diplomat he served as ambassador to France and chairman of the committee on foreign service reforms within the foreign ministry.

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