The dispute between the two protagonists has had many twists over the years, and the latest PSB intervention is another attempt to hold sway over the national sporting federations. It is using the stick of the Supreme Court verdict that is actually quite benign on the federations, granting each of them the opportunity to disassociate itself from the overbearing federal bureaucracy. The POA was always a party, because of its status as the national Olympic committee and by this virtue keeper of the IOC charter in its domain.
Owing to reasons absolutely political – the recent losers in the POA elections wanting to win by other means, using their political clout – the POA and its top officials, in the main Lt. Gen. (retd) Syed Arif Hasan, have been dragged into it, to the extent that the IOC had to intervene.
The IOC is incensed, for its charter is unambiguous on the issue: any forced action or interference from the government is violation of the Olympic charter and may draw any extreme action or sanctions from the global body. And it is likely to take a final decision about Pakistan in its executive board meeting on July 20 – meaning thereby that Pakistan could become the only nation barred from participation in the London Games.
This is really a crying shame for all Pakistanis that the PSB’s timing for the whole fracas has brought us to this sorry pass. That when the issue could have resolved or put off for some time. But, no, the PSB is determined to be the bull in a china shop, to the great national detriment.
The POA has adopted the right stance as it is following the IOC charter. As for the PSB there is much to do to put its house in order. Instead of pressing for implementation of just one clause of its much flawed National Sports Policy, what it should devote its energies to is create an enabling environment where sports and sportsmen could flourish. That it would not do but only aim at having the Federations under its thumb, and perhaps install the officials of its choice in the Federations.
The POA and some other federations have issues over some of the clauses in the policy, which they said are in conflict with IOC Charter and the constitutions of the world bodies to which the national federations are affiliated.
The president of POA, Lt-Gen Syed Arif Hassan in his press conference earlier this week urged the president and prime minister of Pakistan to resolve the issue before it’s too late. He was of the view – and one has to grant him that he was right – that the Sports Policy by no means can bring the POA under its purview. The tussle will only harm sports in the country on a massive scale.
He said that unless all the parties went along, sports cannot progress in the country. Gen. Arif said, he was ready for reconciliation but it was clear from his body language, and his nuances, that he would not waver from his already stated stance.
Now the federations have two options: either they implement the National Sports Policy and amend their constitutions according to it or they disaffiliate themselves from the Board. The second option is a pill too bitter to swallow because most of these federations in the absence of sponsors from the corporate sector have to look out for dole outs from the PSB.
The government has decided to press full steam ahead to implement the sports policy, particularly the tenure restriction clauses that will affect several federations and all provincial Olympic associations. Of late though the sports ministry put a two-month freeze on the issue, allowing the federations to ponder over National Sports Policy, but more importantly to keep the IOC at bay – which is sick of the government’s fracas had in consonance with its globally acclaimed charter had threatening to throw Pakistan out of the Olympic Games 2012.
This is the sum total of PSB’s churlish attempt and its achievement: getting Pakistan and its sports more global ignominy and opprobrium when it is already in dire straits owing to the security situation in the country.