By Afzal Javed, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 30, 2013
The dispute between the two Army retired generals for their own interest and power in Pakistan Olympic Association (POA will pay the big cost to the country as national sports destroying badly over the ego of these two generals and government top officials including Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif fails to settle the important issue for the revival of the sports at national and international level.
The ugly tug-of-war between two retired generals damaged the country’s image besides demoralizing the athletes and sports buff. One group led by Lt. Gen. (R ) Syed Arif Hasan got the support from International Olympic Council (IOC) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and he is also rectify from the both international organization and second group led by Maj. Gen. Akram Sahi who make the parallel POA with the supports of government but failed to get affiliation from International Olympic Council and Olympic Council of Asia as both international organization also suspended the memberships of Gen. Sahi groups office bearers.
Hockey is our national game, won four hockey world titles and three Olympic gold medals but due to two generals clash this is worst time for the Pakistan sports as hockey team is not participating in upcoming Commonwealth games to be held in next year at Glasgow. Ultimately, it is a national loss and has caused a lot of embarrassment to all concerned. But is anyone willing to accept the responsibility for the fiasco but IOC Executive Board shown the indication to ban Pakistan’s Olympic membership.
Government supported POA failed in both attempts as they send a contingent to Indonesia for the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) but the ISG organisers informed them that they couldn’t be allowed as they were not recognised by the IOC. The parallel body also suffered another setback recently when the organisers of the Commonwealth Games refused to accept any letter from them confirming the participation of the hockey team in the mega event next year in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The clash has taken a serious turn after two swimmers selected by the Pakistan Olympic Association headed by Lt General (retd) Arif Hasan were stopped from going to Indonesia for the Islamic Solidarity Games, Sikander Khan and Ghulam Muhammad were stopped from boarding the flight at Lahore airport by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who claimed they didn’t have the required NOCs from the Pakistan Sports Board to go abroad for an international sports event.
“We got instructions from the PSB, which represents the government, not to allow the swimmers to go abroad because of the NOC issues,” one FIA official said.
In the Islamic Solidarity Games more than 1,800 athletes and 600 officials will be part of the event and only Pakistan Muslim country is not taking part in this mega event due to ongoing rift but if we see other Muslim countries including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Indonesia, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia are taking part in this event.
The refusal apparently angered the Pakistan Sports Board and it threatened to take Arif Hasan to court and also said it had asked the government to lodge a complaint against him with the Army chief.
In what is seen as the final attempt to avoid this harsh decision, the IOC has invited Pakistan’s inter-provincial minister Riaz Pirzada and IOC affiliated NOC Pakistan President Lt. Gen. (r) Arif Hasan to its headquarters in Lausanne in the first week of October to listion the both side point of view and also inform him about the serious consequences an Olympic ban can cause for Pakistan.
POA President Arif Hasan said that PSB steps are totally illegal and they are not authorised to stop any athlete from going abroad to take part in an international sporting event, adding that the travel documents and accreditation of both swimmers were complete so there was no legal means to stop them from travelling to Indonesia.
He said that the organisers of Islamic Solidarity Games and Commonwealth games have made it clear to the government that they only recognise us but their actions are scandalous, adding that this continued government interference will only hasten the IOC to impose a ban on Pakistan and that would be disastrous for our sports and athletes.
Talking about Commonwealth games Arif Hasan said the decision would damage hockey, a hugely popular sport in Pakistan. Ha said that every Pakistani has emotional association with hockey, but the apathy from the hockey officials has led to this exclusion.
On the other hand Maj Gen (R) Muhammad Akram Sahi appreciated the decision of not allowing the illegal contingent prepared by Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan to participate in the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia. While condemning the action of the defunct faction headed by Syed Arif Hasan, who is still posing himself as the President POA against the decision of Supreme Court and the National Sports Policy by defying the laws of the country.
He suggested that appropriate action be taken against the defaulters. He also announced full support on his behalf and on behalf of his team to the Minister IPC and his office/PSB for all the actions taken or would be taken for application of Sports Policy 2005 and the Supreme Court order and the Lahore High Court order.
In the conclusion I must want to say that the all saga is make for the personal benefit and own interest for the both Army retired generals, government top officials stop intervene and should take solid actions like they again hold the POA elections and also banned both groups leaders to take part in election as this could by solve matter and this will good for the revival of the sports at national and international