The ongoing cold-war between Pakistan Olympic Association and the government-backed interim committee in POA has brought Pakistan on brink of suspension from International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The suspension would mean that Pakistani athletes will not be able to take part in any Olympic-related event, this suspension may extend to individual sports authorities as it has been observed that there are parallel associations created in more than a dozen sports.
The ongoing conflict began last year right before the London Olympics and had created doubts over Pakistan’s participation in the most prestigious of all events, however at that time the suspension was averted.
However, the conflict remain unsettled, despite repeated efforts by the International Olympic Committee, the government authorities remained defiant against the “elected” and “recognized” Pakistan Olympic Association under the presidency of Arif Hasan.
Initially, IOC held several meetings with the representatives of inter-provincial coordination committee, but all efforts went in vain as an interim committee was formed to oust Arif Hasan and company from Pakistan Olympic Association.
“All the IOC’s efforts to reach a mutual understanding have been ignored by this parallel body and the government authorities so far,” the IOC said in February.
They also sent a clear message to authorities in Pakistan that they will neither approve any government appointed group in Pakistan Olympic Association nor will accept any dictations from government in matters related to the Olympic Committee.
“The NOC of Pakistan is facing government interference, and the IOC firmly condemns the so-called “interim committee” established by a number of individuals supported by the government of Pakistan with the aim of taking over the legitimate NOC, which is fully recognised by the IOC,” it said
“The IOC has reiterated on several occasions that it will not accept such a body, which stands in clear contrast to the basic principles of the Olympic Charter, and will recognise only the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), currently headed by Gen. (Retired) Syed Arif Hasan, as the sole entity entitled to act as the NOC of Pakistan,” it said last month.
“The EB therefore highlighted that if this parallel body (supported by government authorities) continues to disrupt the operations of the legitimate POA, in particular by organising new “elections” outside the POA and by preventing the POA from exercising its activities as foreseen by the Olympic Charter, Pakistan will be suspended from the Olympic Movement with all consequences this implies,” IOC warned.
Even the IOC’s charter is very clear about it. Article 16.1.5 of IOC states: “Members of the IOC will not accept from governments, organisations, or other parties, any mandate or instructions liable to interfere with the freedom of their action and vote,”
But, it didn’t work. Interim committee, on behest of PSB, continued its ways and announced to impose ban on Arif Hassan and Khalid Mehmood, and also to hold elections in Pakistan Olympic Association.
Not only this, they have also disaffiliated governing federations of 13 sports federations and have imposed 5 years ban on officials standing with Arif Hasan.
With Asian Youth Games are set to commence in less than ten days and Pakistan’s participation in the event is uncertain, the interim committee seems unfazed by this.
The way they (both the groups) are working and denouncing each others, one can only wish if these officials had shown even half of the interest and activity in development of Sports in the country then things would’ve been very different.
Whatever the result of this conflict between POA and interim committee would be, but the current situation is already hurting Pakistan’s image and the players are the ultimate losers.