POA General Council reposes confidence in Arif Hasan
LAHORE: Majority members (63 out of 102) of the General Council of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) reposed their confidence in Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan by attending a General Council meeting that was held at a local hotel here on Sunday. Though the decisions of the meeting were not made public under a court order, but POA chief Arif’s rivals fail to bring a no confidence move against him. Since POA elections in February, Akram Sahi and Qasim Zia, presidents of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) and the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) respectively, along with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Islamabad Olympic Association (IOA), have been making efforts to gain the support of several sports federations to garner a two-third majority vote against Arif. But yesterday’s meeting clearly proved that none of them enjoyed the support of majority of national sports federations.
Both Sahi and Zia, with IOA chief Arif Siddiqui, have been supporting the stance taken up by the PSB and Inter-Provincial Coordination that according to the National Sports Policy, no official can hold office after completing two four-year tenures. But the POA has maintained that it is an independent body and, therefore, not bound to follow the National Sports Policy.
Talking to reporters, Arif said such tactics to oust him were being used in a bid to change the focus of the public from the dismal state of affairs in sports. “I once again reiterate that we follow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter in Pakistan. It is in the larger interest of our country’s sports to resolve this issue (National Sports Policy) as soon as possible because any forced action on implementing the National Sports Policy on the POA or the national sports federations could damage the Olympic Movement in Pakistan and will be in violation of the Olympic Charter,” he added.
The agenda of the POA General Council meeting was the review of the Olympic Movement in Pakistan, review of the London Olympics 2012, review of the upcoming National Games in Lahore and Beach Games in Karachi and filling of vacant seats in the POA executive committee. Arif said the items on the agenda were discussed in detail but decisions would not be made public under a court order. “The POA was not refrained from holding the General Council meeting, but we were directed by the court not to public the decisions taken at the meeting,” he responded to a question.
It is pertinent to mention that many an underhand tactics are being employed to coerce the POA and the national federations into submission. The vilification campaigns based on twisting of facts are the methods employed. The POA has also written letters to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to look into the matter to safeguard the interest of sports and the Olympic Movement in the country. Arif said positive efforts were needed for an amicable solution of the row. “The issue of the National Sports Policy cannot be solved in the courts of law but through a dialogue. The present situation in Pakistan sports has become very serious. For the last couple of months our utmost effort has been to resolve the issue as per the Olympic Charter but in vain. The POA do not want something that may put a question mark on the future of Pakistan sports or have a deeply injurious impact on the image of an already isolated nation,” he concluded.