Sunday, February 05, 2012
By Muhammad Ali
LAHORE: Lieutenant General (r) Syed Arif Hasan became president of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) for a third consecutive term after an elective meeting of the General Council of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) at a local hotel here on Saturday. Syed Arif, who was first elected as POA chief in 2004 and again in 2008, bagged 48.5 votes while his rivals Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Major General (r) Muhammad Akram Sahi received 32.5 votes and Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Qasim Zia received 21 votes. Total votes of the General Council were 103. Muhammad Khalid Mahmood became the POA secretary general. Interestingly, Khalid, who had decided to contest the election for the post of secretary general from the panel of Syed Arif, represented Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) as a voter because both his department Pakistan WAPDA and his federation AFP had not sent his nomination.
A powerful figure of current PPP government, Qasim’s chances were bleak from the onset because the former Olympian announced his candidature and started his campaign quite late. Despite full-fledged support from Pakistan Army and votes from federations under their influence, Akram Sahi was unable to win the elections. The message from Army that the chief wants Sahi to ‘take over’ and he must ‘pull out’ could not deter soft-spoken Syed Arif from contesting the elections as he was sure of his victory. Syed Arif contested with full confidence and vigour and was successful. It is pertinent to mention that presidential candidates Qasim and Akram Sahi had objected to formation of an election commission and certain election rules promulgated by the POA. They had criticized POA president Syed Arif for taking decisions in ‘undemocratic’ manner and without consulting the POA General Council or Executive Committee. However, they developed consensus for smooth conduct of the NOC elections after Syed Arif met them and took them into confidence. The trio sorted out thorny issues regarding the elections in an amicable way.
Talking to media after the elections, Syed Arif said the main aim of contesting the elections for the third time was to give final touches to his plans and to fulfill all his dreams of strengthening the infrastructure and bring sponsorships from multinational companies and provide international standard facilities to Pakistan players so they can bring laurels for the country at international stage. “I was quite hopeful of winning the elections for the third time as I had got the complete backing of majority of sports federations,” he added. He said he would concentrate on promotion of sports at club and tehsil levels during his tenure. “My emphasis during my third term will be raising the sports infrastructure at the grassroots level.”
Syed Arif said he held no grudges against any one as his rivals were part of the Olympic Family. “With the conclusion of the elections, there is no grouping now. I respect them all and will take their input whenever needed.” Syed Arif thanked his friends and well wishers for supporting him during the elections. “My friends had forced me to run for the president slot as they wanted me to complete outgoing projects for the betterment of sports in the country.” To a question, he said the Pakistan Sports Trust (PST) was established for the betterment of sports in the country and the PST provided financial assistance to national athletes. “During my two tenures a complete understanding and coordination was witnessed between the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the POA, which was never seen before due to which country’s standard of sports was declining sharply,” he maintained.
The Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBF) did cast their vote as the Lahore High Court (LHC), dealing with their case admitted and confirmed the writ of the sitting body of the national federation, which was suspended two months ago after the POA had declared its entity null and void. The Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) and the Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) were ineligible to cast votes because their cases are pending in the courts. The Pakistan Equestrian Federation, being suspended, was also ineligible to vote. Olympic sports disciplines had three votes each, while non-Olympic sports disciplines had two votes each. The provincial Olympic associations, affiliated departments Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Railways, WAPDA, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Police had one vote each. Islamabad Olympic Association and FATA Olympic Association had a half vote each. The Athletes Commission of Pakistan had two votes while four votes were for the women members.
POA office bearers for next term of four years 2012-2016:
President: Syed Arif Hasan
Vice presidents: Syed Aqil Shah, Chaudhary Muhammad Yaqoob. Shaukat Javed, Doda Khan Bhutto, Kamran Lashari, Saeed Iqbal Khan, Iftikhar Ahmad Tabassum, Muhammad Afzal Awan, Abdul Khaiq Khan and Ms. Fatima Lakhani
Secretary general: Muhammad Khalid Mahmood
Associate secretaries: Muhammad Jahangir, Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Hafiz Imran Butt, Hafeez Ullah Khan, Haider Lehri and Ms. Veena Masood
Executive committee: Khawar Parvaiz Shah, Muhammad Rashid Malik, Ahmad Yahya Khan, Wajid Ali Chaudhary, Ms. Sumera Sattar, Ms. Saba Shamim Akhtar and Ms. Nargis Rahim.