LAHORE – Lt Gen (r) Arif Hassan retained the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president slot after defeating Maj Gen (r) Akram Sahi and Qasim Zia in the POA elections which held for the first time in the history of Pakistan here on Saturday at a local hotel.

The total votes were 102 while 103 voters cast the votes and Gen (r) Arif Hassan took the lead with 48 and half votes as the half vote of FATA and Islamabad went to Gen (r) Arif and half to Gen (r) Akram Sahi who got 32 and half votes. The third contestant Qasim Zia, who is PHF president, succeeded in getting 21 votes.

After the elections, General Council meeting was held in which the winning candidate Gen (r) Arif Hassan announced his panel. Khalid Mehmood of Wapda was nominated as POA secretary while 10 vice presidents were also announced including Syed Aqil Shah, Ch M Yaqoob, Shaukat Javed, Doda Khan Bhutto, Kamran Lashari, Saeed Iqbal Khan, Iftikhar Ahmad Tabassum, M Afzal Awan, Abdul Khaliq Khan and Fatima Lashari. Haji M Shafiq was nominated as treasurer while M Jahangir, Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Hafiz Imran Butt, Hafeez Ullah Khan and Haider Lehri are nominated as associate secretaries. Khawar Pervaiz Shah, M Rashid Malik, Ahmad Yahya Khan, Wajid Ali Ch, Sumera Sattar, Saba Shamim Akhtar and Nargis Rahimtoola are nominated as member of executive committee.

Gen (r) Arif Hassan, talking to this scribe, said: “Forgetting about the past, we will now work together with unity purely for the promotion of sports across the country. There is no grouping in POA now and our top priority is just sports betterment in the country and for this, we will work together. The election was held in a very democratic way and in future too, such elections can be held after my tenure if required.”

“I have done many mistakes during my tenure and now I have leant a lot from my mistakes and my past. These elections also provided me a chance to overcome mistakes and work hard to raise the standard of sports across the country,” he added.

Secretary POA Khalid Mehmood told this scribe that he was thankful to Allah Almighty for this honour and also thankful to house which supported him fully.

“Though I was in a pressure but I fight like a sportsman with sportsmanship and in the end, I achieved this great honour for this, I am thankful to Allah and all my supporters.”

Losing candidate Maj Gen (r) Akram Sahi congratulated Gen (r) Arif Hassan for retaining his presidency said his full support was with the elected president.

“The election was held in a very good atmosphere and was fair and transparent. I heartily congratulate winning candidate Gen (r) Arif Hassan and assure my full cooperation in future for the promotion of sports across the country,” said Gen Sahi.

Meanwhile, talking exclusively to The Nation, International Olympic Committee representative Jerome Poivey, who came here to observe the election procedure, said that the election was fair and transparent.

“The election atmosphere was very good and I am happy to see sportsmanship during the elections as the losing candidates felicitated the winning candidate. During my short stay I did not feel any security issue here and I wish international events should be held here. Pakistan is a good country so if I get chance to come here, it will be my pleasure to visit it again,” the IOC observer concluded.