ISLAMABAD    -     Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hassan managed to get re-elected unopposed as president of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) for the fifth time.

But on Monday, the Lahore High Court sent notices to the respondents to hear arguments regarding the National Sports Policy 2005 and ruled that the POA elections shall be subject to the final outcome of the petition. The ruling was given by Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza and next date for hearing was fixed for December 10.

Arif bulldozed all the rules and regulations and made amendments in the POA constitution, which gave voting rights to his blue-eyed persons and excluded President of Pakistan, who is the symbol of federation, as POA patron-in-chief.

He also removed governors from the POA board and made such rules and regulations, according to which no one would dare to file nomination papers against his panel.

Like Gen Arif, Khalid Mehmood also managed to get re-elected as POA secretary, while all the near and dear ones of Gen Arif also got re-elected on different slots. It is a worrying sign for the athletes and all the federations, who have been working with dedication and devotion and playing pivotal role in helping the country in winning medals at international forums.

Gen Arif always managed to blackmail governments by using IOC card. He always threatened the governments and all those, who took principle stand against him, as he thinks that he is born to lead the POA.

He is free to do whatever he likes and no one can dare to challenge him. It is a huge contradiction to para 11 of the National Sports Policy 2005, which reads: “One tenure of any office-bearer of federations/associations will be of four years. President, secretaries and treasures shall be allowed two tenures only. They will become ineligible for any office after two tenures and vacate their position for new incumbents.

There is also an order of the Supreme Court, passed by Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Amir Hani. In his judgment dated May 8, 2012, honourable Justice Jawad Khawaja endorsed National Sports Policy’s paras 10 and 11 and wrote that the government, which provides finances, has the right to make amendments in the sports policy. Both the honourable judges also set aside Lahore High Court orders, which were in favour of the federations, while review petition filed by the POA was also rejected.

Gen Arif always hides facts and never responds whenever he is contacted to seek his version. He always uses blackmailing tactics and the IOC ban threat and manages to prolong his tenure.

Gen Arif must inform the government and the entire nation that how much grants he has received from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and where that

was spent.

Gen Arif is responsible for the debacle of sports in the country. The alarming decrease in international medals is just because of Gen Arif and his polices, as he never bothers to keep close check on the federations’ working. Merit was badly ignored, as top athletes were never given their due right to represent the country at international stage.

He is also responsible for promoting nepotism, as he bucks up parallel federations to deprive genuine federations and athletes of their due rights.

The federations of athletics, judo, cycling and badminton are few such examples, which have parallel federations bucked by the POA chief. Athletics is mother of all sports, but the POA never gave them any support, as Gen Sahi is leading the AFP.

It is high time that Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza must take up the POA issue very seriously and ensure the government’s authority.

She must check the entire record of Gen Arif from start to till date, as how many his close aides have managed to enjoy international tours. Gen Arif always dictated terms and forced the PSB to send contingents in bulks.

There were hardly handful athletes, who represented the country in mega events, but there were always officials in huge numbers to waste national kitty in the name of tours. When Gen Arif is not ready to accept the government’s rules and regulations, then why he wants the government to provide finances for his recommended contingents.

Prime Minister Imran Khan must take out some time from his busy schedule for the sake of sports and the country. He must take strict action against the POA and all those federations, who have been occupied by same officials since long.