NA body may issue arrest warrants for officials of NC, AFP [The News]

NA body may issue arrest warrants for officials of NC, AFP [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) could issue arrest warrants for the officials of PFF’s Normalisation Committee (NC) and Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) in case they fail to appear in the next meeting of the standing committee.

NA Committee chairman Nawab Sher Waseer and members took strong notice of the absence of members of the NC from the meeting as well as AFP officials including AFP president Maj Gen (r) Akram Sahi.

“We cannot tolerate such behaviour on the part of the AFP and FIFA NC. We have the powers to issue the arrest warrants. We can take this extreme measure if these officials fail to appear before the committee in the next meeting,” he said.

NA body chairman told the members that he had received a call from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Managing Committee head Najam Sethi who expressed his regret over not attending the meeting due to the PSL Trophy’s unveiling in Lahore.

“There has been no communication from the NC Chairman or members of the AFP.

The NC just sent their legal notice which is not acceptable at all. This is a serious offense which tantamount to extreme measures which we could take.”

Minister for IPC Ehsanur Rehman Mazari told the members that NC did not look serious to honour their promise of holding elections by March 2023.

“The NC had given their commitment to hold the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) election by March 2023 but the committee has not taken any concrete steps so far.

“There are no signs that they would stand by their promise. I have met with the Asian football president recently and told him to ensure a timely PFF election. We would go to any extent to ensure PFF elections at earliest.

This is a matter of country’s prestige. NC’s prime objective was to hold an election which they haven’t done so far. We have almost $ 16 million pending with FIFA which would only be released to the democratically elected federation.”

Members of the NA Committee, especially Rubina Irfan (the former head of women football in the country) came down harshly on the NC’s reluctance to hold football elections.

“I was the one who was approached by the concerned team to send the women’s team to Saudi Arabia, which I communicated to NC and stressed on them to ensure the women team’s participation.

It was nothing new for me as I have been helping women teams travel abroad since 2000.

But it was strange that the women team’s selection was not done on merit and a few players holding US Passport were allowed to represent the country. Such a tournament is only meant for the local Pakistan players.”

Rubina added that the NC chairman and members are getting huge salaries. “Furnish details of the salaries and other perks and privileges of these members. It is members’ right to know as to why the NC has failed to give a clear roadmap for the PFF election. A foreign passport holder is heading the NC and visits the country off and on.”

When the NC legal representative refused to share NC members’ salaries, perks and privileges, members got furious and demanded details in the next meeting.

“How much you are paying to national players and how much the NC members have set aside for themselves, we need details,” Rubina added.

She also demanded PFF elections at the earliest. “This football federation is not meant for Lahore and Karachi only. The NC has been there for the last four years now.

The PFF needs representation from Balochistan, KPK and other parts of the country and this NC is depriving all.”

Mazari said that the AFP official’s plan to contest the elections for the third time would not be allowed.

“We will not allow any federation including AFP president Akram Sahi to contest AFP president elections for a third time as there is a provision for two tenures only. We have learned that he is planning to contest election for the third tenure which will not be allowed.”

Published in The News, 10 February 2023

Dawn’s Kashif Abbasi adds:

Parliamentary panel slams NC for delay in PFF elections

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Thursday showed grave displeasure over failure of the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee to begin the election process of the country’s football governing body.

The issues pertaining to the FIFA-appointing PFF NC became the major talking point among other topics as the National Standing Committee on Inter Provincial Coordination met here with MNA Nawab Sher in the chair.

The committee was supposed to get briefing from PFF NC chairman Haroon Malik, Athletics Federation of Pakistan president retired Maj Akram Sahi and Pakistan Cricket Board interim management committee chairman Najam Sethi and showed its displeasure over their absence.

Although a representative of the PFF NC attended the meeting, the committee deferred the agenda items pertaining to the PFF, PCB and AFP and said that if the officials do not attend the next meeting, the committee will not hesitate in getting their warrants issued.

However, before fixing the said matters for next meeting, the committee members showed their concerns over the delay in holding of the PFF elections.

PFF NC’s legal advisor briefed the committee but Federal Minister for IPC Ehsan-ur- Rehman Mazari was of the view that the FIFA-appointed committee is using delaying tactics in conducting the polls.

“The NC officials are receiving huge salaries from FIFA but they aren’t showing interest in holding elections,” he said. “If the PFF NC does not begin the election process by the end of March, the government will approach FIFA in this regard.”

The PFF NC had given the government an eight-month roadmap to conduct the elections of the PFF once it regained control of the PFF headquarters.

The mandate of the PFF NC, which was installed in September 2019 after years of turmoil in the PFF, is till June next year.

The Haroon-led NC had been thrown out of office in March 2021 by a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, who was elected president in polls of the PFF conducted by the Supreme Court in December 2018.

Those elections were not accepted by FIFA and soon after the takeover, it slapped a suspension on Pakistan that was lifted in June last year after the PFF NC returned to office.

The PFF NC also opened a new bank account to receive funding from FIFA and the IPC minister stated that the committee was in the dark regarding the perks and funds that had been provided to the players.

It was also questioned as to how the PFF NC sent the national team to Saudi Arabia for the four-nation invitational tournament last month without getting No-objection Certificate from the Pakistan Sports Board.

MPA Rubina Irfan, a former PFF official, also expressed her concerns, stating that the PFF NC seemed least bothered about the holding of elections despite giving guarantees to the government that they won’t be delayed.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2023