ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Acting Director General Arif Ibrahim, on the special request of athletes and coaches, has agreed to close down training camps at the PSB for three days to allow them to travel to their native areas to cast votes in the general elections to be held today (Wednesday) across the country.

Talking to The Nation, Arif said: “It is bonafide right of every Pakistani to cast vote to their favourite party or candidate. When a number of athletes and coaches along with officials have contacted me in this regard, despite knowing the Asian Games are just round the corner, I allowed only nearby athletes and coaches to proceed and cast votes and then return back on Thursday night while the athletes and coaches from far-flung areas weren’t allowed.

“The volleyball camp will also continue while the PSB staff will continue to facilitate them, as it is my utmost priority to ensure athletes and coaches get best from the PSB and in return, we expect them to win laurels for the country,” he added.

He said he had taken very strong notice of filthy washrooms, smell in Allama Iqbal Hostel and non-functional air conditioners. “I called Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussian on late Monday night and also paid surprise visit to both hostels Allama Iqbal and Fatima Jinnah to have a look on facilities being provided to the athletes there. The sports journalists are eyes and ears of the PSB and I appreciate and request them to come to feel free, my office and point out flaws and the areas, where we lack and can improve.”

He said he had ordered Malik Imtiaz to ensure proper cleaning of washrooms and kitchen and proper working of air conditioners. “I also ordered to repair roofs of kitchen and adjacent area, which were pouring in such light drizzle, which, in heavy rains, can create a lot of problem.

Malik Imtiaz said he had pointed out that the entire maintenance/renovation work was done by contractors and despite major flaws and a series of complaints against them, no heed was paid. Arif immediately called XEN Ijaz Akbar and ordered him to submit report that how much was spent on entire project and why roofs are leaking, why air conditioners are out of order and why smell has spread in the entire complex. He warned XEN that he is not going to tolerate such things.

The PSB DG also visited Liaqat Gymnasium and newly-constructed bio-mechanical laboratory located backside of Jinnah Stadium. He was highly upset to witness, as the roof was leaking while furniture and mats of million rupees were badly damaged by rain water and entire floor was presenting flood-like situation.

He ordered his staff to present PC-I of the projects to check whether the contractors followed the plans as per PC-I.

Arif visited different wings and facilities and met with staff. He also took notice of thin presence of staff and ordered respective heads of the department to send him detailed report.

“I won’t allow anyone to violate office discipline. PSB is a government organisation and everyone has to follow rules and regulations. I will take stern action against not only the violators but also against the sections heads, as it is their responsibility to ensure smooth functioning of office matters.”

Despite a lapse of more than three weeks, accounts department, instead of issuing medicines to different federations, lost their written applications. When medical centre contacted accounts department to check whether they have sanctioned the medicines, it was brought into their notice that the applications were lost and were asked to submit fresh application. When it was brought into the notice of Action DG, he said if the complaint is genuine, he will take action and also seek reply from Director Finance Ghazanffar in this regard.

“Actually, it is now habit of PSB staffers to deliberately use delaying tactics, spend time at different offices, come late to the offices and leave early. I have given clear directives to respective heads of departments to submit written reply and ensure office discipline is followed, otherwise the violators have to face the music,” Arif concluded.