IOC gives Pakistan another chance to fix mess
LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee has given Pakistan another chance to resolve differences between its government and the country’s national Olympic association.
The move was announced after IOC officials held a meeting on Friday with Pakistan Olympic Association President Syed Arif Hasan and IOC member Syed Shahid Ali. Despite being invited, no representative from Pakistan’s government attended.
The IOC said it still recognizes Hasan as the POA’s president and asked the former general “to establish fruitful dialogue with the government of Pakistan and find good solutions for the future which are fully compatible with the principles and rules which govern the Olympic Movement and, in particular, the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement.”
At least 20 sports federations formed their own interim committee within the POA and, with the support of the government, called Tuesday for fresh elections within a month. The IOC has repeatedly warned Pakistan of severe consequences if the government continues to interfere in the affairs of the POA.
POA interim committee secretary Rana Mujahid said Hasan’s re-election as president last year for a third time violates a government sports policy which limits office holders to two terms.
Mujahid told The Associated Press that nothing less than a new election “is acceptable to at least 20 sports federations of POA.”
“There’s no point in forming dialogue with someone who is not acceptable to us,” said Mujahid, a former field hockey Olympian.
The interim committee also claimed that it has the backing of at least four powerful federations within the POA _ the Olympic sports of field hockey, tennis, athletics and rifle shooting.
The gulf between Hasan and the government widened last year just before the Olympic Games and Pakistan was in danger of being suspended from the London Games.
Eventually, the IOC allowed Pakistan more time to put its house in order. However, the differences have grown in recent months, culminating in the formation of the interim committee, headed by the president of the Pakistan Basketball Federation, Asif Bajwa.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation, whose president Qasim Zia was beaten by Hasan in last year’s elections for the POA presidency, is among the 20 federations to have called for fresh elections.