KARACHI: The general body of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Thursday authorised its chief Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan to start a constructive dialogue with the government, especially the Prime Minister to resolve the issues which have strained their working relationship.
According to a senior POA official, the house, while showing confidence in Arif Hasan’s leadership as the POA chief, gave full authority to him to meet with the Prime Minister and other authorities and resolve the issues which have been created in the wake of the Tokyo Olympics.
The official said that Arif was told by the house that there should be a “constructive dialogue” on the proposed national sports policy and the matter regarding the mismanagement relating to the Tokyo Olympics. However, it was stressed that the dialogue should be held keeping in view the IOC Charter and the constitutions of the national federations, International Federations (IFs) and the POA.
Arif chaired the meeting virtually from the US. According to a POA senior official, Army, Navy, Equestrian Federation of Pakistan (EFP), Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) and Pakistan Sailing Federation (PSAF) did not attend the meeting.
However, the official said that PAF, WAPDA, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Railways, Police and the rest of the federations and provincial Olympic associations attended the meeting.
Out-stationed representatives of various units attended the meeting via zoom while some were physically present. The relationship between the POA and the government got a serious twist soon after Pakistan’s empty-handed return from the Tokyo Olympics last month. Shahbaz Gill, an special assistant to the Prime Minister, and the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza held a news conference in Islamabad and asked Arif to step down.
In order to tell its side of the story, the POA also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, requesting him to give the NOC his audience. However, no response has been received by the NOC from the Prime Minister's House as yet. The POA general body also discussed Pakistan’s participation in the Winter Olympics. The winter sports authorities informed the house that four athletes had qualified for the Winter Olympics, to be hosted by Beijing early next year.
The 34th National Games also came under discussion. The Balochistan Secretary Sports had been invited to the meeting but he did not attend it. However, it was decided that as Balochistan’s government claimed that 90 percent venues had been prepared, the NOC’s venue committee would visit Quetta to inspect these venues in October. It was learnt through sources that the POA planned to hold the National Games in Quetta in September 2022 so that Pakistan could get at least five months preparation time for the South Asian Games which Pakistan is supposed to host in Punjab in March 2023. The general body appreciated the Kamyab Jawan programme of the government about which a detailed briefing was given to the house by the representative of the HEC.
The performance of the Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist Haider Ali was also appreciated by the house.
The house was also told that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association’s elections were due and the POA chief said that the elections should be held as per Constitution.