Wednesday June 19, 2024

Arif retains POA seat

By Alam Zeb Safi
January 24, 2016

Election Commission avoids issuing official notification due to PHC stay order

KARACHI: Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan on Saturday retained his seat as president of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) during elections held at Lahore.

Because of the stay order issued by Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the POA’s elections on Friday, the Election Commission decided not to officially notify the results.

This is the fourth successive time that Arif has clinched the top seat. In 2004, during the rule of General Pervez Musharraf, Arif was installed as POA’s chief in place of the longest-serving president Syed Wajid Ali Shah, who had served the country’s most powerful sports governing body from March 3, 1978 to March 11, 2004.

The late Shah’s son, Syed Shahid Ali is now acting as member of International Olympic Committee (IOC).

As per the unofficial results, Arif claimed 80 votes in the 127-member General Assembly. Nine voters were absent.

According to sources, three votes were cancelled because those were not properly casted. Arif’s rival Major General (retd) Mohammad Akram Sahi got 35 votes. This was the second consecutive time that Sahi contested elections against Arif.

Sahi, the Athletics Federation of Pakistan’s (AFP) president and former international athlete, had also tasted defeat in the previous elections of POA held on February 4, 2012.

Meanwhile, Syed Khalid Mehmood retained his seat as POA’s secretary by bagging 82 votes. His rival from Sahi’s panel and Punjab Olympic Association’s (PbOA) secretary Khwaja Idrees secured 29 votes. Mohammad Khalil, Pakistan Ju-Jitsu Federation’s president, who contested for the secretary’s slot as an independent candidate, got seven votes.

Pakistan Handball Federation’s (PHF) president Mohammad Shafiq retained his seat at treasurer by securing 79 votes. His opponent Chaudhry Mohammad Asghar, Pakistan Wrestling Federation’s (PWF) president, got 38 votes.

The ten elected vice-presidents are: Ghazanfar Abbas (Navy,97 votes), Salim Saifullah (91 votes), Brig (retd) Rashid Malik (88 votes), Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob (87 votes), Shaukat Javed (87), Syed Aqil Shah (82), Kamran Lashari (80), Syed Abid Qadri (79), SM Sibtain (75) and Fatima Lakhani (unopposed).

The seven elected associate secretaries include: Veena Masood (87 votes), Ahmad Ali Rajput (88), Hafiz Imran Butt (100), Haider Lehri (105), Rizwan-ul-Haq (100), Zulfiqar Butt (93) and Mohammad Jehangir (90).

The 20 executive committee members are: Arif Saeed, Fauzi Khwaja, Javed Shamshad Lodhi, Painda A Malik, Khawar Shah, Farmanullah Anjum, Syed Wasim Hashmi, Zain-ul-Shaukat, Amanullah Khan. Khalid Noor, Tariq Pervez, Amjad Amin Butt, Naqi Mohsin, Mohammad Rashid, Shamim Hashmi, Kifayatullah, Murtaza Bangash, Malik Iftikhar and Arif Nawaz.

Sources said that the nominee of Balochistan Olympic Association (BOA) opted to sit outside in order to avert any disorder which could create due to some legal matter.

The chairman Election Commission Justice (retd) Qazi Ehsanullah Qureshi conducted the elections which were observed by Farman Haider of Kuwait as member of Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Qazi had replaced Ehsan Mani when the former president of International Cricket Council (ICC) asked the POA to seek for his replecement because of his commitment abroad on the election day.

Arif’s previous four-year tenure was marred by internal conflict. He had to face tough time when Supreme Court issued a verdict on May 8, 2012 and endorsed the national sports policy.

The crux of the apex court’s judgment was that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) could make rules and implement them.

The same verdict hit all those presidents and secretaries of national sports federations who had entered the third tenure which was illegal under the tenure-restriction clause of the sports policy.

The government also wanted to show exit door to Arif by bringing in Akram Sahi as president of the parallel POA which held its elections in the summer of 2013.

But POA was of the opinion that the Supreme Court’s verdict did not apply on it as it was not affiliated with the PSB.

In the meantime, Sahi group also occupied the Olympic House in Lahore. Pakistan’s international commitments also suffered during the same period. In a bid to avert sanctions from the IOC, the ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) signed a deal with the IOC in Lausanne in the summer of 2014 and recognised Arif as POA’s chief. The same step made Pakistan’s participation possible in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the subsequent Incheon Asian Games.

On September 17 last year, Sahi and POA reached an agreement with the IOC in Lausanne which paved the way for peaceful handing over of the Olympic House to the IOC-recognised POA and the subsequent Saturday’s elections.