ISLAMABAD: Despite a recent warning issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the government seems to be in no hurry to resolve the long-standing dispute between two rival bodies of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), a scenario which has already dented national sports severely. In the Senate Standing Committee’s meeting on Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) held here on Monday, there was no sign of resolution of the agonising issue involving the two rival POA bodies, at least in the near future.
The committee met with Senator Farah Aqil in the chair to discuss the sub-committee’s report on the rival POA bodies. However, IPC Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry sought 12 days for submitting the ministry’s reply in response to the subcommittee’s recommendations. In its comprehensive report presented before the Senate committee on Monday, the four member sub-committee headed by Saleem H Mandviwalla, declaring Lt Gen (r) Arif Hassan-led POA as legal, urged the government to avoid creating hurdles for the Arif-headed national Olympics body. Whereas the POA body headed by Maj Gen (r) Akram Sahi had no legal standing, the subcommittee added.
However, IPC Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada, despite the subcommittee’s clear recommendations, remained reluctant to accept Arif’s POA. The minister during the meeting even reckoned that Arif was ‘responsible’ for the sorry state of sports presently prevailing in the country. It is pertinent to mention here that the IOC last Thursday warned Pakistan government that the country could face suspension by the world Olympic body if it did not refrain from interfering in POA matters. However, Pirzada ‘saw’ Arif’s involvement in IOC’s hard worded warning against Pakistan. The minister opposed Arif-led POA which is recognised by the IOC and in the same breath assured the committee members that the government would follow IOC instructions regarding the POA in letter and spirit.
Meanwhile, Mandviwalla the subcommittee’s convener insisted there should be no personal liking or disliking in deciding on issues of national importance. “If we want to participate in international sports events, we have to accept the Lt Gen Arif-headed POA, which is the only body (recognised by the IOC)”, he said while regretting that the tussle between the rival POA bodies during the last two and a half years had caused a considerable damage to Pakistan sports. The meeting, among others, was attended by Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Senator Kulsoom Parveen and Senator Haji Gulam Ali.