Wednesday January 19, 2022

Who has the mandate to hold South Asian Games, asks Senator

January 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Senator Irfan Siddiqui has raised questions on the mandate and authority of major stakeholders to organise the 14th edition of the South Asian Games, stressing the relevant officials to clarify who actually is responsible to host the mega event.

“Which authority in Pakistan has been allotted the Games? Whether it is the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) or the government of Pakistan,” asked Irfan during the Senate Standing Committee on IPC meeting on Friday.

“What practices are followed throughout the world when it comes to hosting such a big sporting event,” the Senator said.

The meeting that was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Raza Rabbani was meant to take a detailed briefing from the POA on its role. Since both President POA and secretary are suffering from COVID-19, the house concentrated on the sub-committee report and modalities followed regarding SA Games to be hosted by Pakistan in March 2023. “It is a matter of country’s prestige. We will not allow anyone to play with the country’s sports image. The national image is more important than the nine billion rupees meant for the Games hosting. Everyone should be clear about the given mandate when it comes to staging the Games in a successful manner,” Irfan said.

Secretary IPC Mohsin Mushtaq said that the government and POA would jointly host the Games. “We could not convene meetings in connection with the Games due to pressing commitments of Minister IPC Dr Fahmida Mirza who is due back from the USA shortly,” he said.

It is worth mentioning here that the South Asian Games flag was handed over to POA President Lt Gen (rtd) Arif Hasan during a ceremony held at the end of the 13th edition of the Games in Nepal in December 2019.

The POA president has also taken over as the president South Asian Olympic Committee under which the Games will be organised in just over a year’s time.

Senator Irfan said that according to his understanding Olympic association of any country plays a major role in hosting any sports event being held under the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The present state of preparedness of both the Ministry of IPC / Pakistan Sports Board and the Pakistan Olympics Association with reference to the SAF Games 2023 also came under discussion.

The IPC Standing Committee also decided to convene a special committee meeting on the 14th South Asian Games where IPC Minister and POA President will be invited to brief members.