KARACHI: International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has suspended Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBF) for an indefinite period from all international actions, saying its president Asif Bajwa is engaged in activities which are damaging the efforts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in establishing sports movement in Pakistan.
“Yes, we have received the FIBA message. But I would say that it’s an unfair decision as we have not been heard or issued any notice,” Bajwa told ‘The News’ from Islamabad on Saturday. “We will lodge an appeal against the decision,” he said.
He said that the action was taken mainly because he was heading the Interim Committee. “How could I ignore the law of the land and the decisions of the top judiciary of Pakistan?” said Bajwa.
FIBA wrote to the PBF in a letter on June 28: “As you know, the International Olympic Committee has been working for more than a year with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to ensure that National Federations in Pakistan and the entire Olympic Movement function in accordance with the Olympic charter and the relevant statute of the International Sports Federations. Regrettably, though, the PSB’s policy (sports policy) interferes in the autonomy and the affairs of the Olympic movement affecting also the national federations affiliated to the International Sports Federations. This interference is in direct violation of the Olympic charter and of the FIBA’s general statutes.
“You have indicated to us by email dated March 5, 2013, that the judgment of the Lahore High Court dated October 23, 2012, declared the elections of the POA of February 4, 2012, as null and void. As you know the IOC strongly rejects this interpretation in view of the fact that a decision was taken by unanimity of all candidates present and all of the POA General Assembly to accept that the elections process be modified and not held by secret ballot. In this regard, please note that the judgment of October 23, 2012, confirms that the POA may, if so inclined, hold fresh elections. This is, therefore, neither an obligation nor a declaration of nullity,” the letter added.
“As you very well know, an Interim Committee claiming to act on behalf of the POA has been created as a result of the above judgment to control sports in Pakistan in further violation of the Olympic Charter. The Interim Committee is not recognised by IOC. Much to our regret, we have also been informed that this illegal Interim Committee is headed by the president of the Pakistan Basketball Federation, Mr Asif Bajwa,” it said.
“In view of the above, this matter was referred to the FIBA Central Board in its last meeting of June 20-21, 2013, in Mies, Switzerland. The FIBA Central Board has taken a firm approach considering that in breach of Article 9.1 of the FIBA General Statutes, your federation no longer is in good standing with the National Olympic Committee (POA) officially recognised by the IOC and that the actions taken by your federation cannot be considered in line with Article 9.7. Your direct participation in chairing this Interim Committee further confirms that you are acting against the efforts of the IOC to establish a sports movement in Pakistan that functions in an independent manner free from interference,” the letter added.
“In view of all the above facts and in application of Article 9.10 and 10.2 of the FIBA General Statutes, we have the regret to inform you that the Central Board has approved the suspension of your Federation from FIBA with immediate effect. As a result, your Federation forfeits its rights under Article 8.1 of the FIBA’s general statutes and your teams and officials are no longer allowed to organise or participate in official competitions or activities,” it said.
“Please not that the suspension will be in place until: (a) you officially renounce to your involvement and any other position in the Interim Committee (b) you officially support the IOC’s position and the office-bearers of the POA elected during the General Assembly of February 4, 2012 (c) FIBA receives an official confirmation from the duly recognised POA that the Basketball Federation of Pakistan recognises and support the POA and its duly elected officers as per the General Assembly elections of February 4, 2012; (d) FIBA receives an official letter from the POA (i) indicating that the Basketball Federation of Pakistan is a member of POA with full rights and (ii) confirming the names of the Basketball Federation of Pakistan’s office bearers (e) FIBA receives from your Federation a detailed annual activity report which we have consistently failed to receive despite our requests from January 31, 2012, and May 14, 2013, as well as your obligations under article 9.6 of the FIBA’s general statutes,” it ruled.
“Please note that the FIBA reserves its rights to closely monitor this situation and if necessary to maintain the suspension of your federation until all pending disputes between the PSB, POA and IOC are resolved.”