ISLAMABAD - Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ministry finally woke up from deep slump as newly-appointed IPC Secretary Akbar Durrani invited Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and Secretary Olympian Shahbaz Ahmed Senior for a meeting at his office on Friday.

Had former secretary Jameel Ahmed not kept on sitting on the PHF files and a series of written requests submitted to the IPC secretary office regarding the grave situation, the federation has been facing, Pakistan team could have taken part in FIH Pro League. But due to Jameel’s sheer negligence, the FIH suspended Pakistan for taking part in the league.

Khokhar informed the secretary about the problems being faced by the federation, while the IPC secretary was full of praise for Shahbaz and admired his contributions for Pakistan hockey both as player and as secretary. He lauded Shahbaz for taking back his resignation as secretary and said: “Pakistan hockey badly needs a tall figure like you, who enjoy so much respect and following in the world of hockey.”

Akbar promised to take every possible step to help the federation and hockey. He promised that the government will help hockey in the best possible manner regarding funds and other problems being faced by the PHF.

Khokhar thanked Akbar for his time and support and hoped that with practical steps taken by federation with the help of government, Pakistan hockey will soon be back where it belongs.

Akbar also directed concerned department to immediately start lying down of astroturf at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, as Islamabad is the capital of the country and international events can easily be held at Naseer Bunda Stadium. The IPC secretary also asked Shahbaz the reason for his resignation.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz confirmed The Nation that the IPC secretary has asked him the reason. “I informed him that the government’s attitude and lack of support resulted in my resignation. I have taken over the secretaryship to contribute towards Pakistan hockey, not to get just post. I have not taken back the resignation yet, but I have come to meet IPC secretary.

“ I have a lot of respect for Brig Khokhar, who has put in tremendous efforts for Pakistan hockey. He has flatly refused to accept my resignation but it doesn’t make any sense of keeping hold to the post, when I can’t deliver. The previous IPC secretary has inflicted huge damages to national cause and particularly to hockey. We have requested Jameel Ahmed to arrange meeting with IPC Minister to get the funds issue resolved, but he remained unmoved. I hope the PM will take stern action against Jameel and all those, who are responsible for inviting FIH wrath,” he added.

Shahbaz said even though he hasn’t taken back his resignation, as unless the PM and IPC Minister give him assurance that their hard work and sincere efforts wouldn’t go waste, he can’t work. “Why should I hang on to secretary post, when I can’t help Pakistan hockey. Brig Khokhar is the best person to take Pakistan hockey forward. Just provide him funds and all-out support, he will do wonders for Pakistan hockey.

“If government doesn’t want us to carry on the good work, they should inform us, we will step aside. But they should give us respect, we have earned. I am always ready to help Pakistan hockey and will take back my resignation, if the government promises to address root-causes,” Shahbaz concluded.