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IOC invites inter-provincial minister to Lausanne for key meeting Back To Main


Dawn News

LAHORE, Sept 13: The International Olympic Association (IOC) has invited Pakistan’s inter-provincial minister to its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in an attempt to resolve the Olympic issue before taking any decision about the country’s membership.

In a letter written to the minister Riaz Pirzada, the IOC said that the meeting should be held any time before mid-October and he (minister) could fix a date for the meeting with the coordination of the POA President Arif Hasan and the IOC representative in Pakistan Syed Shahid Ali.

When contacted, the federal minister admitted that he had received the letter and would attend the meeting in Lausanne. However, the minister reiterated that his stance in the meeting would be the same that the government does not recognise Arif Hasan as the POA president and the Akram Sahi’s organisation is the genuine POA body.

Interestingly, the IOC recognises Arif Hasan-led POA as the only genuine Olympic body in Pakistan and has been dealing with him throughout.

“The elections of the new body were held by retired judges according to the orders of the Supreme Court and Akram Sahi was appointed as its president, so we are with that body,” said the inter-provincial minister.

But when reminded that the IOC only recognises Arif Hasan as the genuine president and the current crisis would probably compel the international body to suspend Pakistan’s membership, the minister assured that the country would not be banned. He said Arif Hasan had played his innings and had completed two tenures therefore, according to the national sports policy, he could not be elected for a third term.

It may be mentioned here that the IOC Executive Board had already given the approval to take any kind of action against Pakistan including ban for not following the IOC Charter. The minister’s stance will only help the IOC take a final action against Pakistan as the elections of the POA (Akram Sahi group) were held by the government on July 5 despite warnings from the IOC to refrain from it.

On many occasions in the past, the IOC has instructed the government of Pakistan to remove some amendments made in the rules of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) according to which the government could suspend any national sports federation besides repealing its constitution and imposing ad-hoc.

The IOC believes such kinds of amendments are clear interference of the government in the affairs of the sports federation which have independent status. Furthermore, the IOC does not agree with the federal government’s sports policy to restrict the tenure of the officials to two terms

However, the government wants full control over the national sports federations which is unjust and not acceptable in any civilized nation.

It may also be mentioned here that for the wrong interpretation of the Supreme Court’s decision about the two terms and its implementation on the POA court in Islamabad had penalised Asif Bajwa who was then the head of Pakistan Basketball Federation and also the head of the government-backed POA Interim-Committee which conducted the controversial elections on July 5.

Even the representatives of the PSB, who attended the elections on July 5 as observers, had raised objections over the validity of the voters’ list in their reports.

But when the minister was asked about those objections, he said they were not of important nature and the government recognises Akram Sahi as the POA president.

It must also be mentioned here that recently the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) also debarred five Pakistani sports officials, namely Akram Sahi, Khawaja Farooq Saeed, Zafar Abbas Lak, Major Afzal and Ghulam Ali for playing a role in occupying the Olympic House in Lahore.