ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Chairperson Senator Farah Aqil Shah has taken strong notice of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Syed Amir Hamza Gilani's locking of Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association (Risja)’s office and also closing down the rooms of the PSB employees from Grade-I to 15.

Farah assured her all-out cooperation to Risja and promised to not only ensure Gilani's personal presence in front of Senate Standing Committee in the next meeting but also pay visit to the sports board to witness all the wrongdoings, as she had number of complaints against the PSB already pending with her.

She expressed these views during the meeting with five-member Risja delegation led by chairman Abdul Mohi Shah, with president Mohsin Ali, vice president Zulfiqar Baig and executive body chairman Faheem Anwar Khan.

“Journalists are the fourth pillar of the state and no one can even think about calling them threat to security. Sports journalists play active role in promoting sports from grassroots level to higher levels and try to their best to portray the soft image of the country across the globe, which is the dire need of the hour,” she added.

“I have previously visited the PSB as I have a number of complaints against the PSB high commands. I have noticed a number of irregularities including no proper maintenance of swimming pool despite spending millions of rupees on its renovation. The PSB has long been given dates one after another about the inauguration of the pool, but there is nothing on ground witnessed in this regard. The renovation work of the pool is still long way from completion so the inauguration is a far cry,” she added.

“I am quite surprised that a person who is sitting at the highest office doesn't know the importance of journalists. It is his national and official duty to facilitate journalists so that they may perform their official duties in a better way instead of creating hurdles for them,” she asserted.

“I will talk to IPC Minister Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada and check whether he is aware about the PSB affairs or not and why despite lapse of so many days, Risja office and employees rooms are still locked. If the minister fails to give satisfactory response, I will take up this issue in the very next standing committee meeting and make sure justice will be provided to the journalists,” Farah stated.

“I am really shocked that instead of patronizing the sports and provide maximum facilities to athletes, the PSB is working against the spirit of the sports. They are mainly responsible in establishing parallel federations. The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) saga is harming the sportsmen of the country so the PSB should have acted in a positive manner to resolve this long-standing issue as the IOC ban is looming large. We will not sit back and watch Pakistani athletes being banned from competing in international events, instead we will ensure no such issue occurs again,” Farah concluded.