by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Ehsanur Rehman Mazari has called on the football Normalization Committee (NC) to hold Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) elections at the earliest and hand over the reign to the elected body, maintaining that the government has no favourites as it is the right of the winning candidate to run football affairs in the country.
Talking to ‘The News’, the minister said that all that the ministry wanted was to see a democratic setup in the PFF that for the last four years had been working on an ad hoc system.
“Egypt where the ad hoc committee was working held their elections in January 2022 and elected new president Gamal Allam. The Ministry wants football federation elections at the earliest. It is the requirement as the NC’s prime mandate has been to hold PFF elections,” he said.
It has been almost four years now that two sets of NC have been running the football affairs in the country with the one headed by Haroon Malik heading PFF affairs since January 2021.
The FIFA-appointed committee members are drawing dollar $6000 to $10,000 per month as salary, though their legal representative who attended the last National Assembly Standing Committee on IPC meeting refused to share the salary details with the Committee members. The monthly payment amount is being drawn from the kitty solely meant for the promotion of football in the country.
During the last two years, the NC headed by Haroon Malik has submitted different roadmaps with the Ministry of IPC, promising to hold the PFF elections according to the submitted papers (all documents submitted with the Ministry are available with ‘The News’).
The NC approached the President of Pakistan, vide letter dated 16th August 2021, and submitted the roadmap of the election wherein the NC submitted 10 steps to be taken by them from September 2021 to June 2022 including handing over the charge to the newly elected PFF body but it failed to implement its roadmap.
Another roadmap for the election of PFF was submitted to the Federal Minister for IPC on October 22, 2021, wherein it promised to conduct the elections of PFF from February 1, 2022, to February 10, 2022. However, the deadline was not followed as per the written commitment.
NC made another commitment through its letter dated December 24, 2021, to complete the entire process and hand over the PFF affairs to the newly elected body within a time frame of 165 days. This deadline expired on June 7, 2022.
All efforts to contact Haroon Malik went fruitless as he was not responding to calls on his Canadian cell phone number. Nor did he respond to the message sent to him Friday afternoon on WhatsApp.
Former Secretary General of the Punjab Football Association (PFA) Shaukat Ali Khan, when approached, said football clubs were dying down slowly as no efforts were made to streamline the system.
“We were told to get registered in FIFA Connect Programme which we did. Now, the NC says, to register with the district government. On one hand, NC says the government has nothing to do with football affairs at the other they ask us to register with the district government. That is not possible as no district government registers clubs. We need an official recognition letter from NC to open a bank account which has been made necessary by NC for clubs registration,” Shaukat Ali said.
Shahid Khokhar of PFF NC later told ‘The News’ that club registration is almost complete. “Far-flung areas’ clubs are also being made part of the registration process which is there on the website.
Now the scrutiny will start and soon we will announce the dates for scrutiny and timeline for each area. We respect all the state institutions and want to keep them updated on progress.”