Arif urges India not to involve politics in sports

February 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As the International Olympic Committee has pulled out the selected shooting qualification slot from World Cup under way in India, Pakistan Olympic Association president Lt Gen Arif...

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ISLAMABAD: As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pulled out the selected shooting qualification slot from World Cup under way in India, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (r) Arif Hasan Friday asked Indians not to involve politics in sports as it contradicts Olympic Charter in letter and spirit.

Talking to ‘The News’ regarding IOC decision, the POA president said the decision was taken in accordance with IOC Charter.

“If you are organising Olympic qualifiers or any international event of a repute it is must for the country to honour its commitments of arranging visas to the competing teams and individuals. Indian has faltered on that. Despite many reminders, Indian Olympic Committee and Indian High Commission in Islamabad failed to issue visas to the shooters who were drawn to compete in the event. What the IOC has done is very much according to the requirements of its IOC Charter.”

The 2019 International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup is the annual edition of the ISSF World Cup series that will also act as qualifying tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and is scheduled for February 20-28 in New Delhi. Sixteen quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were being contested for. Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Muhammad Khalil Akhtar were to contest in the category of 25m Rapid Fire Pistol and were part of the team for whom the visas had been applied for.

Despite the fact that the National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) had completed all the formalities well in time (more than sixty days in advance as stipulated in the policy/instructions), till February 21 they had not been issued the visas.

Later in the day it has been learnt that their passports have been returned without issuance of the visas.

The IOC policy is very clear on the allocation of international sports events and the rights of the athletes to compete without any discrimination. This has, as recently in December 2018, been reiterated by the IOC in its communique of the 7th Olympic Summit of December 8, 2018: “The summit agreed that the allocation of international sports events to a country must include the necessary guarantees to ensure equal treatment for the participating athletes and sporting delegations, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country.

“This is in accordance with the basic principles of non-discrimination and autonomy which govern the Olympic Movement and which are recognised by various UN General Assembly resolutions, most recently that of December 3, 2018.”

“We were very disappointed once our athletes were not allowed to participate for an event for which they had been preparing for a very long time. We have always been of the view that sports must be used as a means to build bridges between communities and countries. It can and must be used for the promotion of peace and not otherwise. Greatly disappointed we had no option left but to refer the matter to the IOC.”

Arif Hasan hoped that sanity would prevail and the South Asian Games that are to be held in Nepal this year would go ahead according to the plan.

“I have no doubts in my mind that the Games would go ahead according to the plan. The South Asian Committee that meets at the sidelines of the Olympic Council of Asia meeting in Thailand in early March would finalise the dates of the Games. I hope that sports would be kept separate from politics.”


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