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LAHORE, Sept 26: The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has taken a strong exception to a press release issued by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) [Not sent to POA], and considers it to have been done with pronounced mala fide intent. Director Media of the PSB, has issued a Press Release stating the intent of the Ministry to " mediate between POA and Lt Gen (R) Arif Hasan group". This press release by itself shows the conniving nature of certain involved individuals and their intentions of not only misleading the public but also ensuring that there is no resolution to the basic issue. The factual position is as given in the subsequent paras below.

The fact is, subsequent to his detailed interview to a leading satellite news channel, the POA President Lt. Gen. (Retd) Syed Arif Hasan was called on 25 September 2013, at around 3.30 pm by the PSB Director General Amir Hamza Gilani, conveying that the federal ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination’s (IPC) desires to have a meeting. Gen. Arif responded by telling the DG PSB point blank that owing to his past record, he [Amir Hamza] has no credibility or standing in the eyes of the POA, and therefore it was not clear as to the authenticity of his statement. Hence, if the ministry was truly interested in resolving the issue, it should contact POA directly.

After this brief conversation, the PSB issued a press release, publicly inviting the POA in a manner that is tantamount to premeditated sabotage.

The wording of the press release is a clear giveaway of the intentions by stating, “the Government is ready to play its role as (sic) interceder/mediator between the POA and Lt. Gen. (Retd) Arif Hassan group."

It is unfortunate that this important issue is again being used as a point scoring exercise and to obscure the actual issue. For such meetings it is the norm to send the desire or the intent of the meeting in writing so that everything is on record. The agenda is spelt out and the attendees are listed. No invitation is ever sent through press releases. The offer made by the President POA on TV to discuss the issues with the Ministry has been turned on its head by the offer of " mediating between POA and the Lt Gen ( R) Syed Arif Hasan group" . This just shows the intention to deceive the public. By declaring the illegal group as the POA, they have made sure that the meeting is a non starter. This group has been declared illegal by ALL the sporting bodies of the world I.e. the IOC, OCA, CGF and more recently by the ISSF but the Ministry continues to support this group well knowing that this would not be acceptable. There is no mediation required. What is required is that the genuine POA and the Ministry sit together and while respecting each other's constitutional mandate, work towards the development of sports in the country.

Gen. Arif meanwhile has responded: “Yes, POA and I are willing to talk to the IPC, in order to find a resolution for the sake of the country, its athletes and its image. But there can be no compromise on principles or the Olympic Charter. The POA would do anything but betray the national interest nor the Olympic Movement. We have pledged to uphold both and we shall.” The intention and the commitment to resolving the matter with the Ministry still stands. It is NOW up to the Ministry"