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Life bans on POA officials by unconstitutional interim committee Back To Main


No doubt Pakistan sports have gone to the dogs. The unlawful and unconstitutional Pakistan Olympic Committee interim committee, established by disgruntled elements in the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Inter Provincial Coordination Committee (IPC), has slapped life bans on two main officials of the NOC Pakistan – duly elected president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan and Muhammad Khalid Mahmood – and started the process to hold fresh elections of the POA. Now this is a comedy of errors. The million-dollar questions that arise are how the illegal committee, whose all attempts to get legitimacy from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) failed miserably, can ban the POA officials when its own very existence is void ab initio, and how can it hold new elections. This is really hilarious. But we are a funny nation that likes to live in a world of dreams and fantasies. The world of Pakistan sports is no different. Despite getting many stern IOC warnings, the PSB and the IPC are running their circus unabated and with impunity.

The sports scenario of Pakistan has become murky due to a rift between the POA and the PSB – the national body that governs the country’s various sports organisations. The PSB wants to implement the National Sports Policy under which no national sports federation head can have more than two tenures, and expects the POA to follow suit. But POA chief Arif Hasan, who won a third term in February last year, has refused to follow the PSB directives, saying the POA is an autonomous body that will only follow IOC rules. It is pertinent to mention that the PSB, with some present and some former mischievous officials, has never accepted Arif’s third term elections held in the presence of the IOC and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) representatives on February 4, 2012. What is deplorable that Arif Hasan’s rivals are not only refusing to accept the elections results and but also trying their best to destroy the very fabric of the sports and the Olympic Movement in the country, using the National Sports Policy. It is interesting to note that these very personnel fully participated in the POA elections last year, but after losing started their ‘hectic efforts’ to dislodge the POA chief by hook or by crook.


The infamous National Sports Policy is a disaster. An army brigadier conceived it, barely one year after his induction into the PSB. He quietly took his grand ideas called ‘NSP’ to the President of Pakistan without even consulting the stakeholders or the approval of the executive committee, which is a pre requisite for all policy decisions. Two days after the announcement of this policy, it was clear to all and sundry that this sports policy would never be implemented because it was just not practical or realistic. It was amended twice during the last 8 years and has still not been implemented. This uncalled for disaster has tarnished the image of the Pakistan government.


The concept of the PSB was the brainchild of Abdul Hafeez Kardar during his assignment as Deputy Educational Advisor in the Federal Ministry of Education. He felt that Pakistan needed a national sports council on the pattern of other countries to develop and promote sports in Pakistan. Thus in 1962, the PSB was created through an ordinance. This organisation was vested with all necessary powers to supervise promotion of sports in Pakistan. The mandate of the PSB and its role and powers were clearly spelt out in this ordinance that was subsequently approved by the Parliament. Like national sports councils of all other countries, it has been assigned a clearly defined task. Is the PSB discharging this vital national responsibility? No. It is not. And that is one of the basic weaknesses of our sports system. For quite some time now, instead of working for the betterment of Pakistan sports, the PSB, in connivance with the IPC, is acting the opposite. In fact it is conspiring to bring in its own men at the helm of affairs. It is also interesting to note that the PSB is annually spending Rs.213 million of its Rs.700 million budget on its administration, with a mere Rs.37 million slated for grants to more than 34 national federations. This is a travesty.


It is no secret that the IOC does not tolerate any government interference in working of its member country as is evident from the recent attempts by the Indian government to dictate terms to the IOC which resulted in the country’s suspension. Left with no choice, the Indian government has once again placed a request with the IOC to lift their ban and has assured the world Olympic body of adhering to the IOC Charter.


The PSB and the IPC, however, seems hell bent on inviting the IOC wrath by defying the orders and directives of the only recognised body in the country – the Arif Hasan-led NOC. The PSB and the IPC, in fact, have infuriated the IOC further by forming the interim committee of POA headed by Muhammad Asif Bajwa with Rana Mujahid Ali as secretary and are supporting it to run the sports affairs and organise tournaments. Such defiant attitude on the PSB and the IPC’s part will soon compel the IOC to suspend the Olympic membership of Pakistan which could be disastrous for the country’s sporting future which is already in shambles due to security concerns.


Holding of National Games again: Quite recently, in yet another move to snub the IOC authority, director general of the PSB Amir Hamza Gillani announced that another edition of the National Games will be held in Islamabad in June this year with the collaboration of the interim committee and for that purpose, a staggering amount of Rs.80 million will be dished out to the body. It is, indeed, an outrageous amount of money for organising a national level event, the 32nd National Games which were held just five months ago in Lahore for a cost of just Rs.10.75 million. The Games were organised by Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA). The recent PSB move clearly smacks of foul play and the huge amount sanctioned for the National Games is likely to be distributed among the ‘favourites’ without any proper accountability of its usage ever coming to light. Except the Services (Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy) all the affiliated units of the POA like Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Railways, Higher Education Commission, four provinces, FATA and Islamabad took part in the 32nd National Games. The big question that arises here is who really stands to benefit from the whopping amount of Rs.80 million sanctioned for the National Games by the PSB?


The present situation in Pakistan sports has become very serious. The PSB and the IPC are perhaps not realising the fact that the POA is the main pillar of the Pakistan sports structure. For the last one year the POA has been trying its level best to resolve the issue as per the Olympic Charter but in vain. The POA has clearly stated that it do not want something that may put a question mark on the future of Pakistan sports or have a deeply injurious impact on the image of an already isolated nation. But it seems that Pakistan’s suspension by the IOC is imminent.