KARACHI: In the wake of the mounting tension between the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and government, the coming general council meeting of the NOC, which has been convened on September 16, will be very important.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill during a news conference in Islamabad a few days ago asked the POA president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan to step down as the NOC chief following Pakistan’s another empty-handed return from the Tokyo Olympics.
Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) Board on Monday endorsed the stance of the federal government during a meeting in the federal capital chaired by the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza.
It will be interesting to see whether Army and WAPDA will attend the NOC’s general body meeting. It is feared, according to sources, that they may skip the meeting. And if they attend the meeting their reaction to the government’s demand will be significant.
‘The News’ has learnt that the NOC is making efforts to bring normalcy. It does not want any confrontation with the state authorities. As per rules, it is the prerogative of the NOC’s general council to demand resignation from the POA president. According to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Charter, the general body of any federation or NOC is the supreme body which can legislate on any matter.
If the departments affiliated with the POA don’t attend the NOC’s general council it will be tantamount to state interference. And then the ball will be in the IOC’s court. Sources revealed that the NOC has not officially informed the IOC about the interference in its affairs but has shared with it the relevant media clips.
The NOC wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on August 20, requesting him to give the NOC his audience so that it could explain its side of the story about Pakistan’s participation and its outcome in the Olympics.
Sources said that the NOC had not received any reply from the Prime Minister’s House till the filing of this report.
The sources said that the NOC is not considering any in-house change. If the general council demands this then it may happen, the sources said and added that the NOC usually desists from issuing casual media statements and wants a peaceful relationship with the state.
The NOC has time and again emphasised that it is not responsible for sports development and that it is the responsibility of the state to invest in sports and work for its development.
Sources in the government said that those who used Pakistan’s name would have to obey the law of the land and that no one was above the law.
But POA has stated at various forums that it is an autonomous body which is affiliated with the IOC and that its autonomous status has also been confirmed by the apex court in 2019.
When the state-POA tension had soared a few years ago the IOC advised POA to convene its general body meeting to decide whether it needed a tenure-restriction clause in its Constitution. The POA’s general council then decided that there was no need for a tenure-restriction clause in its Constitution.
The IOC president’s mandate is eight years which is renewable once for four years. It means an IOC chief can serve for a maximum of 12 years. However, IOC does not impose this regulation on its affiliated NOCs.
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