Dogar, Zahir groups likely to join hands for PFF elections [The News]

Dogar, Zahir groups likely to join hands for PFF elections [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: Malik Amir Dogar and Syed Zahir Shah groups are expected to join hands for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) elections which will be held later this year under FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee.

According to sources, both the groups have been in negotiation for many days and are expected to reach an agreement soon.

A source said that a meeting of PTI MNA from Multan Amir Dogar, former KP health minister Zahir Shah, Mohsin Gilani and Rana Ashraf will be held at Multan on Sunday (today) to discuss Punjab’s football matter.

Sources said that they would also make adjustments to win elections at the district and provincial levels.

According to sources well aware of the agreement contents, Zahir Shah will be their joint candidate for the PFF presidency.

For vice-presidents seats, Ali Bahar (Sindh), Rana Mohammad Ashraf (Punjab) and joint candidates from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are likely.

Sources said that Amir Dogar (Punjab), Chaudhry Ikhlaq (Punjab), Rana Ashraf (Punjab), Nasir Karim (Sindh), Taha Ali (Sindh) and Ali Bahar (Sindh) are expected to be their candidates for the PFF Congress.

Congress members from KP and Balochistan will be decided by both the parties with consensus, a source privy to the proposed agreement said. This correspondent has learnt that Chaudhry Zulfiqar (Punjab) and Naveed Lodhi (Punjab) may join, for the PFF ExCo seats, two members from Sindh, of them one to be nominated by Dogar group and one by Zahir group.

For the two ExCo seats from KP, Zahir Shah group will nominate the candidates.

In Balchistan, they will try to bring together Saeed Tikko group and Haji Khalil group. If reconciliation was not reached then Haji Khalil group may be backed in the elections, it has been learnt.

Mohsin Gilani, a former FIFA development officer, could be the candidate for the PFF ExCo from Islamabad. However, an Islamabad football stakeholder told ‘The News’ they would not allow any outsider to become the president of Islamabad Football Association (IFA) nor any one out of the circle could represent the federal capital in the PFF Congress.

For the three women seats for EXCo, two will be nominated by Amir Dogar group and one by Zahir Shah group, according to the proposed agreement.

Malik Dogar will be the candidate for Punjab Football Association’s (PFA) presidency, Taha Ali Zai for Sindh Football Association (SFA), and Zahir Shah for KP Football Association. The candidate for the presidency of Balochistan Football Association is yet to be decided by the two groups.

Zakir Naqvi is expected to be the candidate for the Islamabad Football Association (IFA) presidency.

Sources said it has been agreed that PFF General Secretary will not be a politicised position. The secretary, which is the chief executive of the PFF, will be chosen by Zahir Shah after consultation with Amir Dogar.

Former PFF chief Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah is also expected to be the covering candidate for the PFF presidency. In the 2018 PFF elections the nomination papers of Zahir Shah, Amir Dogar and Naveed Haider for the PFF presidency were rejected. Ashfaq then was elected as PFF chief.

The PFF NC is bound to hold PFF elections by December 30. Initially NC had been given nine-month mandate by FIFA for elections but it failed to meet it. The world body then extended the time-frame. This correspondent tried to contact Amir Dogar but he neither attended the call nor replied to a whatsapp message.

A source close to Zahir said that they are hopeful of entering into an alliance with Amir Dogar group.

It is not yet clear what stance the former PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat will take regarding the coming elections. He has been silent for a long time and is expected to emerge at an appropriate time, a source close to him said. Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattack and Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri are likely to be witnesses for Zahir group.

Published in The News, 13 September 2020