Saturday October 16, 2021

POA chief rejects govt allegations

August 24, 2021
POA chief rejects govt allegations

KARACHI: Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan on Monday stressed that authorities would have to work within their domain if sports were to be developed in the country.

“Everyone should work within their domains. We are ready to give advice on matters of sports development,” he told a news conference. “The POA does not want to play a blame game. We have been compelled to come to the news conference because some allegations have been levelled against us. The Prime Minister has been given a one-sided story. We have also written a letter to the premier and it will be good if he gives us an audience,” he revealed.

Arif, who was on video-link from the US, was holding the news conference in response to the news conference of the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill and the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza a few days ago at Islamabad during which Arif had been asked to step down as the POA chief.

About his resignation, Arif said he has been serving as the POA chief in a democratic way. “Yes, I have been acting as POA chief for the last 17 years but through a democratic process. The way the system is being misused no one will get any benefit,” he said.

“International Olympic Committee (IOC) approves the POA constitution and the world body only gives its approval when it is satisfied with each and every detail. Before every election the list goes to the IOC. In the 2012 POA elections the IOC representative was there. In the 2016 elections its representative was not there but it had asked for a complete list and details before it gave us the go-ahead for the electoral process. The IOC also then sent us a letter of congratulations,” Arif recalled.

He was responding to the government functionaries' allegations about the transparency of the POA elections. “Why did these people feel after two years that the POA’s elections were not fair? Who has briefed them? I leave this to you,” Arif said, while seemingly referring to the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Maj Gen (retd) Akram Sahi.

“Sports development is not the responsibility of the POA. Why is this responsibility being associated with me and the POA?” he said.