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Pakistan sports expect a lot from new government Back To Main


LAHORE: For the last one year and a half, Pakistan sports have been put in a state of turmoil. And it could not have happened had the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), the government’s autonomous body meant to promote and develop sports with the help of national federations, not provided its crucial backing to the interested quarters.

The motive behind it all seems to be to wrest control of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), and subsequently the national federations.

Perhaps the PSB didn’t figure out the kind of sturdy fight the POA will put up in its own defence and that of the IOC’s internationally recognised Olympic Charter.

The POA was dragged in the courts, denied funds for the 32nd National Games in Lahore last December, and finally an attempt was made to corner it through the federal ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordintion (IPC) by raising an illegal body called “Interim POA” while an absolutely legal, properly-elected POA that was recognized by the appropriate world and Asian bodies, the IOC and the OCA, existed in Pakistan.

There cannot be a more glaring example of the government itself creating an illegal body to take over a legally operational national institution!
The full extent of the damage to the national interest this move will cause shall be known in the days and weeks to come.

And if, as the global body has already pointed out in its several letters, the most recent one in the first week of February 2013, the IPC and the PSB did not abandon their intervention in the POA, the IOC is likely to suspend Pakistan as its member – an action that it took against India last November.

A new political government is about to take the reins of the government in a smooth transition of power and Nawaz Sharif is all set to become the prime minister for the third time.

The sports circles are questioning: if there cannot be a bar on a politician to become the prime minister for the third time, how come Pakistan’s National Sports Policy 2005 have a bar on the office bearers of national federations to get elected for a third tenure?

The new government should remember that this ban on national federations was imposed by Gen Musharraf’s government – the same that had barred a third tenure for the prime minister, explicitly to keep Nawaz Sharif and then alive Benazir Bhutto out of the office.

This indeed is an irony, and the new government may take some time removing this anomaly.

But one thing the new government can do straightaway is: engage with the IOC, take stock of the situation and give a shut-up call to those who are queering the pitch.

If Pakistan is suspended, it shall bring Pakistan bad name. At the top of it, no Pakistani athlete shall be able to take part in any international sport under the Pakistani flag.

India remains under sanctions though now the Indian government has reassured the IOC not to intervene in its National Olympic Committee’s affairs and even amend its laws to bring these in line with the Olympic Charter.

There are expectations that Nawaz Sharif, himself a sportsman, shall resolve this issue quickly for this too is a national issue. Unlike so many others that await his urgent attention, it does not take much to tackle. Only an instruction to the federal babus to go by the book and it shall stand resolved.

And then the POA and the national federations shall be able to devote themselves to the development of Pakistan sports instead of being tangled in such useless and messy affair