ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan made Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani head of the PM Task Force on sports to review the performance of sports organisations and make recommendations for administrative reforms in sports.

The PM made this announcement after a meeting chaired by him on Tuesday at PM House. Also present during the meeting were Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, IPC Secretary Minister Jamil Ahmed, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, PSB Acting Director General Arif Ibrahim, DDG Technical and Training M Azam Dar and other senior government officials.

IPC secretary Jamil Ahmed briefed the Prime Minister about functions of the ministry and performance of various attached departments including Pakistan Sports Board, Pakistan Cricket Board, Inter Board Committee of Chairman, Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council, National Academy of Performing Arts and National Internship Programme.

Discussing the budgetary allocations of the ministry and various development schemes for promoting sports in the country, the Prime Minister was informed that various important schemes worth billions of rupees were left incomplete since 2008 with little progress on physical infrastructure. The PM directed that all pending schemes should be reviewed in order to ascertain their utility and reasons for their incompletion.

Discussing the performance of various sports federations and associations, it was decided to take on the plethora of sports federations/associations for non-performance resulting in a pathetic outlook of Pakistan sports despite getting funding from various national and international sources including federal and provincial governments and enjoying tenures for more than a decade.

The aim is to revamp the whole ambit of sports, from infrastructure to organisational structures and operating systems, for introducing merit, transparency and performance criteria so that Pakistan, which is a nation of over 200 million with more than 60 percent population below 30 years, could rule the sports world. It was also decided that the government organisations dealing with sports would also be revamped/restructured as they too have failed to achieve the purpose for which they were created.

It was decided during the meeting to constitute a ‘task force on sports’ under Ehsan Mani to review the performance of all sports bodies, analyse the efficacy and utilisation of various funds received from various sources and suggest administrative reforms for promoting sports at national as well as regional level. The PM said in the first step, enhancing sports grounds should be focused to provide opportunity to the youth to manifest their talent and excel in sports.

The Prime Minister was also briefed about the performance of national paralympics committee, and the PM appreciated the progress made by them and hoped that the special kids will continue to bring laurels for the country at international stage.

Meanwhile, the inside sources present during the meeting on condition of anonymity have confirmed to The Nation that the PM expressed his utter disappointment on the progress of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and despite Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hassan being the POA president for last 14 years or so, the standard of sports has badly declined and performances of Pakistani athletes in international events, even in South Asian Games and Asian Games are going from bad to worst.

The sources further revealed that the PM has decided to bring massive change not only in POA, but also hold a high-level inquiry after the massive complaints received against the POA and its officials. Same is the case with Pakistan Sports Board, which is being ruled by corruption, bad governance, violations, nepotism and misuse of powers. The PM has vowed to clean corruption from sports, the sources added.  “The PM is also aware of the fact that 90 percent budget allocated for sports uplift is spent on PSB employees’ salaries, medical allowances and other perks and privileges, while a number of bogus federations are also registered in the past, who don’t even have any proper offices and enjoying annual grants from the PSB,” the sources added.

The sources said that PM is all set to appoint a permanent PSB Director General, while a stern action is on cards against former DG Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, who is still occupying the official residence inside the PSB premises, despite completing well over 6-month tenure and is in no mood of vacating the lavish 5-kanal building, which was meant for women hostel.

“The PM said the IPC Minister is very keen to improve working of the PSB and other related departments, which falls under her domain and she has already given directives to DDG Administration to issue a circular warning to make the PSB house in order and don’t violate rules, otherwise a stern action will be taken against the violators. IPC Minister is also all set to meet PHF President and Secretary on late Tuesday evening to discuss Pakistan hockey,” the sources concluded.