by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) has asked the Punjab government to hand over possession of Football House in Lahore to the Normalization Committee (NC) to pave the way for lifting of the international soccer ban on Pakistan.
‘The News’ has learnt from well-placed sources that the letter to this effect was sent to the government of Punjab Friday, directing the provincial government to hand over the possession of the Football House to the NC at the earliest.
The Punjab government sealed the House after taking the possession from the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) headed by Syed Ashfaq Shah. After the possession, the Punjab government has reportedly converted part of the House into a revenue office.
“Yes, we have written a letter to the Punjab government directing them to hand over the Football House possession to the NC. The decision was taken on two accounts. In lieu of recent meetings, the NC has promised to help lift the international ban on Pakistan within days of House possession, and second, the NC has also promised to hold PFF elections at the earliest. So we hope that the international ban will be lifted on Pakistan teams’ participation in international events and elections will be conducted within the next six to eight months. These are the reasons why we have directed the Punjab government to hand over the House to NC. We don’t want the House to be used for offices or any purposes but for soccer promotion,” an official said.
FIFA has recently extended NC duration for another six months with a promise to hold free and fair elections within the period. The period can well be extended for three more months provided the NC gives a clear roadmap to conduct free and fair elections. Now when the government has finally sided with the NC and left the PFF headed by Ashfaq Shah and Aamir Dogar high and dry, chances are that a clear election roadmap will be submitted with the Ministry of IPC at the earliest.
A well-placed source also confirmed to The News that Global Soccer Venture (GSV) officials have called on the Minister for IPC Dr Fehmida Mirza the other day requesting her to settle the pending football issues, paving the way for soccer development in the country.
Some internationally recognized soccer players who are part of the GSV have also approached FIFA and requested the body to settle the long-standing soccer issues in Pakistan. “Since GSV plans heavy investment in Pakistan, it wants to see settled football federation working in Pakistan and helping them in proper execution of their plans. The government of Pakistan also wants to help the GSV in the best possible way as their efforts only meant for soccer promotion in Pakistan.”