POA to clear the air before Senate Committee today to overcome impasse

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The Senate Sports Committee has invited Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on May 24 in Islamabad to present its case with regards to the absolutely unnecessary embarrassment created by a few individuals who have found some interested backers in our federal sporting bureaucracy who have been misquoting the judgment of the Supreme Court.

The POA in a statement highlighted certain parts of the Supreme Court which maintained that the Government has the right to make laws and implement them and that the Federations are free to enter into any association or union. If, however, they seek and become affiliated with PSB they have to subordinate their Constitution to the PSB Rules. However if they choose to disaffiliate themselves, PSB cannot impose any restrictions. It is the formulation of Rules that we have always contested. If the Government can frame rules they can amend them also. We have all along been asking the PSB to amend its Rules and Policy to bring them in line and in harmony with the Olympic Charter.

“Our point of view has always been that the Rules have been framed without consulting the stake holders and that they should be amended.

“This was also supported by the Senate sub-committee on sports in its meeting on September 4, 2008 made the following recommendations inter alia to uplift the standard of the games in the country.

It stated that the Sports Policy should be re-written after getting feedback from the principal stakeholders including POA and sports federations.

The policy should be reviewed after every 4 years and necessary changes should be made in it after taking stakeholders into confidence and this is what the IOC and OCA have requested for.

The POA will be attending the meeting, with its President, Syed Arif Hasan giving a presentation to the august Senate Committee, along with visual and documentary evidence, which would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt how some unscrupulous, defeated quarters have brought international ignominy and opprobrium to the country.

“Howsoever much the POA is pressured, our stance shall remain unchanged. We would remain steadfast for we are in the right. And the IOC shall keep on backing us also because it is not about personnel, it’s about principle. International bodies like the IOC draw their strength and unimpeachable authority from their integrity, from always doing the right thing, and they would never brook any non-sense where the IOC Charter is concerned.

“At the moment, owing to certain politically motivated quarters that have compelled the federal ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) to write to the IOC, Pakistan has been put in a very precarious situation.

“Let me make it clear: the POA is not interested in an IOC suspension or ban being slapped on Pakistan for we know how further damaging it would be for our sports as well as bringing a rank bad name to the country. It was owing to such POA efforts that Pakistani athletes had been cleared to participate in the London Olympic Games 2012. But things are now quite perilous because after the IPC letter, the IOC has proof positive that Pakistan government is making an unwelcome intervention in the POA’s affairs – which is a clear violation of the Olympic Charter,” said  Arif Hasan.

The POA President is of the view, and he shall present it before the Senate Committee on Sports, that if there was any ambiguity around the time of London Olympic Games, it should have been removed once India’s membership was suspended last November. And that Pakistan shall be similarly penalised if the government intervention and other stiff-arming tactics were continued to be adopted by the defeated elements.

The POA president also said: “There are certain international laws and conventions, abiding by which is mandatory on all member nations. Among many others, these are human rights, war crimes, the UN Charter etc. And there is no escape from these. The IOC Charter is similar in nature: an international treaty which cannot be violated by any member nation.

Only a couple of weeks ago, seeking re-entry into the Olympic fold, the government of India has through its federal sports minister not just pledged to follow and protect the Olympic Charter and shun all intervention in the Indian Olympic Committee’s affairs but also to amend its National Sports Bill to bring it in line with the IOC’s directives. The Indian Government also committed to the IOC and that Indian National Olympic Committee’s elections shall be held exclusively under the IOC watch.

This should make it clear the drift of events to all. Though Pakistan is close to the tipping point, the POA’s earnest desire is to still avoid this catastrophe without any further damage to our already much dented reputation. “Hopefully we shall be able to present to the Senate’s Committee on Sports the direness of the situation and also that it must help the POA to overcome the impasse”.