ISLAMABAD - The 78th executive committee meeting of Pakistan Sports Board was held here at Liaquat Gymnasium under the chair of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Monday.

The three-hour long meeting discussed in detail Pakistani contingent’s performance in the recently-concluded Asian Games, lauded Pakistan hockey team for showing better results, appreciated Pakistan women cricket team for winning lone gold medal and took serious notice of Pakistan squash teams dismal performance, as they never failed in the history to play at least semifinal prior to South Korean Asian Games.

Besides the minister, IPC secretary Chaudhry Ijaz, POA president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan, PSB DG Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz, PHF secretary Rana Mujahid, PTF president Syed Kaleem Imam, AFP secretary M Zafar were present on the occasion.

Talking to The Nation soon after the meeting, the IPC minister said: “We have discussed in detail performance of Pakistani contingent during the Commonwealth and Asian Games. We lauded the medal winning teams but I took strong notice of squash team’s dismal showing, as we were expecting gold from them but they really disappointed us and the entire nation. The POA president also showed his strong concerns regarding squash players and looked completely unconvinced what he saw in Korea.”

He added: “I have given clear directions to the PSF secretary to file detailed finding report and no matter how important a player is, if he is not ready to play for the country and give his 100 percent, then we don’t need such players. I have given him directions to ban all such players no matter what is on stake, the country always and will remain atop of all.”

“I will not allow some certain families or individuals dictating terms and only merit will be given top priority. I have also issued directions to the POA chief to ensure such players or individuals should be selected for representing country, who stand a chance of winning medal or at least put their 100 percent. We will not tolerate any below the belt or under performance. They are ambassadors of the country and they should always keep in mind the country always comes first and sports are far above than the individual,” he said.

When asked about fate of the POA and who is legal head, Riaz replied: “Gen Arif is the legitimate president and is being fully endorsed by the government and IOC. We have given him full backing and he will be the one who decides which federation should get the IOC recognition. We have also given directives to National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to defreeze the POA accounts and Olympic House will soon be handed over to Gen Arif as per Supreme Court orders.”  “We have also decided to empower executive committee to make all the important decisions. No minister or any other can interfere, and we will soon meet with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, as after passage of 18th amendment, center has enough funds unutilized. We will discuss in detail to hand over funds to the provinces. The issue of POA has been settled once for all, and we will never encourage parallel federations. Soon election process of the POA remaining office-bearers will be completed, while as far as ban on Gen Akram and others for contesting the coming POA election is concerned, it was imposed by IOC, so we will follow the IOC direction in true letter and spirit,” Riaz concluded.