KARACHI: The courts disposed of the cases of both Pakistan Basketball Federation and Pakistan Badminton Federation, making them eligible to cast votes in the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) polls due to be held at Lahore on Saturday (today). But Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) was declared ineligible to vote after a stay order was granted against its legality in a civil court in Lahore.
During a meeting of the three candidates vying for the POA presidential slot a few days ago in Lahore, it was decided that if the courts dealing with the cases of some of the federations and provincial associations gave their judgments about their legality and status by February 3, their ruling would be considered as per instructions and the bodies could be allowed to cast votes.
Sources told ‘The News’ on Friday that the Lahore High Court (LHC) dealing with the case of the Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBF) admitted and confirmed the writ of the sitting body of the federation which was suspended two months ago after the POA had declared its entity null and void.
Following the court’s verdict on Friday (yesterday), the basketball federation submitted the names of its nominees, secretary Col (retd) Nasim Butt, Ambreen Nasim and Naeem Shaikh after taking approval from president Asif Bajwa, who is a federal minister. They will cast their votes in today’s polls. Undoubtedly, these votes will go to Major General (retd) Mohammad Akram Sahi, a candidate for the presidential slot, sources said.
Meanwhile, the civil and sessions courts in Lahore, also disposed of the case of the Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF), enabling it to cast its votes in today’s polls. The PBF was advised by the court that it should hold its elections but withhold the results. But on Friday the petition of the opposing party was dismissed and Iftikhar group was declared as the genuine body.
Sources said that following the verdict, the nominations of the PBF Senior Vice-President Naqi Mohsin and acting secretary Tayyab Sohail and Miss Noureen were submitted to the election commission of the POA along with the court order. It is almost certain now that they will be allowed to cast votes.
The group had the support of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) during its tough time and it is evident that their votes will go to Lt General Arif Hassan. Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF), whose votes were expected to go to Akram Sahi, was stopped from using its voting rights after Khwaja Idrees group got a stay order against its legality in Lahore Civil Courts on Thursday.
‘The News’ learnt that Sindh High Court, dealing with the case of the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA), has allowed the SOA president Dr Mohammad Ali Shah to cast his vote. Sources said the Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) observer has already reached Lahore.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) representative will land in the Punjab capital before the polls today. This is the first time in the history of the POA that the elections in real sense would be held as three persons are vying for the presidential slot.
The sitting president Lt General (retd) Syed Arif Hassan, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PFF) President and former Olympian Qasim Zia and Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Major General (retd) Mohammad Akram Sahi are engaged in what will be an interesting battle.
Hassan, who has served as the POA president for two four-year terms, seeks a third tenure. Qasim Zia, also a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentarian, and Major Sahi, a former international athlete, are in the race for the first time.
As the polls will be conducted through secret ballot, anything could happen but it seems that the real battle will be between the two men from the armed forces. Although top officials of some of the federations are openly supporting the candidates of their choice, there are a few sports bodies who have kept mum all the way which has left an element of unpredictability.