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LAHORE–The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) shall hold its General Council meeting on August 3, 2013 at Lahore. “This would be the POA’s fourth General Council meeting in around a year and a quarter’s time, which is a record in the history of the POA and proof positive of its legitimacy”, said President POA Lt. Gen. (Retd) Syed Arif Hasan.

The last General Council meeting was attended by as many 85 per cent of its members.

Gen. Arif was speaking to a crowded press conference of the print and electronic media here at a local five-star hotel on Thursday.

Answering a question, the POA President said, the National Olympic Committee believes that the present government is not behind the tight spot that the POA and as a consequence Pakistan as a nation has been put in. “The Nawaz Sharif government has just taken over, and the POA believes that in due course it shall redress the injustice perpetrated on us by the Pakistan Sports Board and its partners in crime”, said Gen. Arif.

The General Council meeting is only to review and approve the Election Rules 2012, and also to review the election process adopted in the 2012 election with respect to the election of the members of the executive committee only and also to decide whether and to what extent re-election may be held for the said posts.

“We shall report the General Council’s proceedings to the Supreme Court in the third week of September – abiding to the letter and spirit the instructions of the apex court”, said Gen. Arif.

The POA, said Gen. Arif, with the staunch support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and unwavering commitment of an overwhelming majority of the National Federations shall very shortly prevail in the crisis that it has been so needlessly dragged into for the last one year and a half”, said the POA President.

Gen. Arif talked in detail about the issues confronting the Olympic Movement and its autonomy in Pakistan. “The unholy alliance between the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and some defeated elements who have no locus standi have tried their utmost to unnerve and unsettle the POA and the National Federations, with the objective of eventually removing us through means and tactics that were foul and illegal. The state’s exchequer and muscle was used with brutal intent. But to the great credit of the National Federations and the international entities throwing their weight behind us, now we are on the threshold of reasserting our authority.

“There are a number of events and incidents that indicate that despite a massive effort to create confusion, our point of view is now being understood and appreciated by the courts and others in position of authority”, said Gen. Arif.

He went on to recount how in 18 months since the Feb. 12, 2012 POA elections, the combine of the PSB and the defeated elements tried to affect illegal hostile takeover of the National Olympic Committee. “Their defeat is now just round the corner. Only take a glance at the five events among so many that have unfolded in the last one year and a half, and you would instantly understand what I mean to say.

“Firstly, the IOC and the OCA backed us from day one. And while the threat of IOC’s suspending was there around the Olympic Games 2012, owing to the POA’s efforts so far Pakistan has not been slapped with any sanctions. This is despite its Executive Board’s decision ‘to suspend Pakistan, with all the consequences that it implies’. This means the IOC has faith in the present dispensation.

“Secondly, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has suspended Pakistan Basketball Federation due to active role of President PBF as Chairman Interim Committee.

“Thirdly, all accreditations for international events are being vetted by the POA.

“Fourthly, on the coming August 3, 2013 the POA shall be holding its fifth General Council meeting in 18 months – easily the Pakistan record. This also reflects that this POA has not just the decisive but overwhelming backing and sanction of its constituents, and also that it firmly believes in democracy and democratic norms.

 “Fifthly, the courts have seen through the legal muddle that the PSB and its cahoots, and each and every decision in recent months has provided relief to the POA.

“The signal decision was the recent one by the Lahore High Court that barred the illegal so-called Interim Committee of POA midwifed by the PSB from using the 32nd National Games nomenclature. That meant that the POA and not the so-called Interim owned the National Games. In an interpretation that is not just self-serving but dishonest, the Interim used the National Games title, removing only the 32nd from it. The IOC has instructed us to take legal action for trespassing the IOC/POA logo and other rights and we are going ahead with it.”

The POA President also took exception to Rs110 million earmarked for the so-called National Games which offered poor facilities to the athletes etc. “This huge sum has been blown away and the POA demands full third party audit and accountability”, said he.

The POA president also asked the handful of errant National Federations to learn a lesson from the Pakistan Basketball Federation’s doom and distance themselves from the PSB’s illegal Interim Committee and come back to the fold which is legitimate or risk sealing their fate.