Dawn News Paper
LAHORE, Sept 2: The ongoing tussle over the legitimacy of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) took another ugly turn here on Monday when some officials of the government-backed POA (Akram Sahi group) entered the Olympic House of the IOC-recognised POA led by retired Gen Arif Hasan and took its control.
The officials who forced their way into the Olympic House included secretary Khawaja Farooq Saeed, who is a retired judge, Zafar Abbas Lak who is a serving high-ranked police official, and one senator from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Later, both the groups held press conferences as the news spread like wildfire.
The entire media then gathered at the Olympic House where Zafar Abbas Lak
told them that it was the constitutional right of his group to take control of the Olympic House since they were recognised by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) as a genuine body.
However, when asked why the IOC does not recognise his body, he said now as his group had taken the control of the POA they would contact the IOC to brief them.
When reminded that no one could take control of any premises without an order from the court of law, he said his body was justified as this was the constitutional right of his group.
Barely hours after the press conference, POA President Arif Hasan also invited mediamen at his camp-office to brief them about the situation: “It is a bad day for the country. Unfortunately, people like former judge Farooq Saeed and serving police officer Zafar Abbas Lak — who should know
the importance of law — were themselves involved in such illegal activities. But I am a man of principle, and I will adopt all legal measures to get the Olympic House back from illegal people.
“These kind of illegal activities will only create embarrassment for the government and the country at the international level. I earnestly appeal to the prime minister and chief justice to take notice of such illegal activities,” Arif said.
“I am sure the news will be taken by the international media with a big bang, reporting that some people attacked the Olympic House and entered it forcibly and it will only cause embarrassment for the country,” he regretted.
“It must be condemned that a judge is involved in this grabbing, despite knowing well that the case of the POA is still lying before the Supreme Court. Instead of showing such desperation in haste, the former judge and the police official should have awaited the decision of the August Court,” he said.
“During this one and a half years long battle with this rival group (Akram Sahi) we have taken all legal steps to get their right, but his rival group had committed seven contempts of court, and that shows how much they respect the law.
“They entered the Olympic House with the men equipped with weapons and also manhandled our accountant,” he said.
“One of our computers has been disappeared, besides some documents and cash,” Arif claimed.
“We will register a case with the local police station and we will also move court to get justice in this case,” he said.
To a question, Arif said: “After such kind of illegal activities the IOC will be compelled to ban the country despite our best efforts to avoid that moment,” said Arif.
“But my rival group has been taking every step from day one of the fight which may force the IOC to ban Pakistan,” he said.
“This illegal step of my rival group has been taken when all its efforts to get accreditation from the organisers of this month’s Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia and the next year’s Commonwealth Games bore no fruit.
“I would like to categorically state here to everyone that only my group will send the country’s contingent to all the IOC-recognised events, since our group is the only genuine body,” he said.
He also lashed out at the role of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and added that its own recommended observers had raised objections to the controversial elections conducted in Islamabad on July 5.
“I think few PSB officials are fully involved in creating problems for the country’s sports and are more interested in getting the country banned,” he said.