ISLAMABAD - International Olympic Committee (IOC)-approved Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) President Lt-Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan has hoped that the PAO issue with government and Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry will be resolved soon.

Speaking at the ‘Meet The Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association (RISJA)’ organised at Islamabad Tennis Complex on Saturday, Gen Arif said: “It is my top priority to work with government and IPC for the uplift of national sports and players as I really don’t want to embarrass my country and its players at international forum. I always pledge to work in smooth manner and try to provide maximum facilities to our athletes at international level.”

He said that during his recent meetings with IPC officials and new secretary Chaudhry Ijaz, he was quite hopeful that the issue would be resolved soon and Pakistani contingents would once again start representing the country in international events. “People have time and again asked me to let the IOC impose ban on Pakistan, but I always plead for the national cause and requested the IOC time and again to let us handle the case and show leniency as we want to settle our disputes in a positive manner and don't want outsiders to impose their decisions on us,” the POA chief said.

He said if anybody wanted to participate in it, he would plead the case and try to include Pakistan name in the Winter Olympics despite its deadline had expired. “I have requested time and again to send entries for the prestigious event but nobody paid any heed which resulted in Pakistan's absence from the Games which is quite unfortunate. If a single Pakistani appears in it, it will be in great benefit for the country and player as he or she will get international recognition, but some elements don't understand this reality and they are not against me but in fact against the country's sports and inflicting huge damages to athletes by denying them opportunities to take part in international meets,” Gen Arif asserted.

He said there was absolutely no truth in the rumors that the POA had to take NOC from the PSB before sending contingent for international events. “The matter of the fact is that PSB DG Syed Amir Hamza Gilani is bypassing all rules and regulations and even the IPC ministry has written a letter to FIA at airports to stop sportsmen from departing until they show the NOC. The FIA has rejected that plea and asking them to use proper channel and send that letter through interior ministry.”

The POA chief said people didn’t understand the damages if the IOC would impose ban on the country. “India was banned by the IOC for government interference and they still have been struggling to get rid of it. Though they were given conditional approval to take part in the Commonwealth Games yet they cannot represent their national flag but can appear under the IOC flag. The so-called well-wishers of sports must realize the harsh reality and stop unwanted interference and let us work for the promotion of sports,” he stated.

Rubbishing the rumors of any minus-two formula, he said: “There is no truth in any minus one or two formula but the matter of the fact is that the PSB-backed illegal POA has no recognition at all. The IOC has clearly mentioned in its letter that all the federations affiliated with the POA will be entitled for appearing in international meets. They have also approved list of our federations which clearly indicates that which is genuine and legal federation.”

To a query regarding the illegal POA demanding his impeachment by provoking Article 6 as they termed him responsible for damaging the country's interests, Gen Arif said: “They are free to do whatever they want as I never even think about bringing bad name to the country so if they want to impeach me through Article 6, they should continue with day dreaming. The PSB incompetent Director General is behind constituting parallel bodies and he has inflicted tremendous damages to Pakistan sports and athletes.”

To another query regarding IOC deadline to government to unfreeze the POA accounts and hand over the building possession, he said: “I am very hopeful that despite the deadline is well crossed, the matter will be resolved soon as some positive indications were issued from the IPC.”

“The IPC and government have to decide whether they are implementing the IOC advice soon or not as the deadline to implement them have passed and any further delay in doing so will further aggravate the things. IPC secretary Fareed Ullah Khan has agreed in principle to abide by the IOC charter during the last meeting with IOC officials and now the IPC has to act fast to avoid the IOC ban which is looming large at the country,” Gen Arif concluded.