ISLAMABAD - Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada Friday said that the government had decided to recognise led by Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan-led Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

Addressing a press conference along with IPC secretary Chaudhry Ejaz Ahmad, the minister said that two parallel POAs were working in the Pakistan, but the government had decided to recognise Arif Hasan-led POA as it was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "The Prime Minister has directed us to take a decision in the best national interest so that Pakistan's sports are not affected at the international level. So we have taken this decision in the best interest of the country and to secure the future of 66 percent youth of the country.”

The minister said that if a wrong step was taken or a wrong policy was formulated then it could not be defend at the international level. He said sports were the biggest defence against terrorism and all possible measures would be taken for their promotion. "Soon we will devise a system in which only the talented youth will be represent the country at the international level," he added. Pirzada lauded the IPC secretary and PSB Director General Akhatar Nawaz Ganjera for their role in sorting out the POA issue.

The IPC secretary on the occasion informed that as the POA led by Arif Hasan was recognised by IOC, the government was also bound to recognise that as per IOC charter. "Similarly, only those national sports federations which are recognised by their international bodies will be recognised by the government," he added.

He said that only five to six national federations out of the total 39 affiliated with the PSB had parallel bodies. Ijaz said that the IOC had to announce a decision to ban Pakistan in its next meeting starting in Lausanne from Monday. "However, due to our today's response, there will be no such ban on Pakistan now," he said.

To a query regarding the POA led by Maj Gen (r) Akram Sahi, the IPC secretary said: "If courts validate Sahi and he manages to get IOC recognition, then the government will recognise him.”

To another query, he replied that the government had agreed with IOC not to force the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and its affiliated national sports federations to follow clauses of the National Sports Policy 2005 regarding restriction of tenure of president, secretary and treasurer to two terms only. “However, we have asked the IOC that we can implement these clauses with the consent of POA and its affiliated units,” he added.

Ejaz said that a letter had been issued to Gen (r) Akram Sahi asking him to give back the control of Olympic House in Lahore to Arif Hasan-led POA.

“Gen Arif has principally agreed to convene a meeting of federations next month and take up the terms restriction issue in the general council, I am sure this issue will be resolved amicably and Sports Policy will be implemented,” he said.

When this scribe asked Ejaz what takes government so long to decide the fate of the POA and why such a long delay was made in this regard, millions of rupees were wasted on National Games, POA elections and establishing training camps of Gen Sahi-led POA, now who is responsible of costing national kitty huge damages, Ejaz said: “Yes it was a mistake and we are sorry about that. The National Games records stand and the money was purely spent on athletes.”

When asked about if the Supreme Court orders comes against Gen Arif what will be the government stance, Ejaz replied: “We will follow the Supreme Court orders.”

When asked about lowly-ranked players were selected for Commonwealth Games and a number of high-profile players were deprived of representing the country in the mega event, Ejaz said: “Yes I accept some cases were reported but now time is too short for the Games, but I ensure next time no such thing will be repeated and only deserving players will be selected to represent the country in international events.”