LAHORE - Officials of different national and provincial sports federations and associations along with sportsmen Wednesday staged a protest outside the Lahore Press Club against the illegal possession of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) house.
The protesters were holding placards and chanting slogans in favour of IOC-backed POA president Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan. They termed the forceful possession by armed people ‘a grave step to ruin the country’s image abroad’ and to draw a disciplinary action against Pakistan by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“The POA is the house of Pakistan’s sports and its illegal possession by a rival group is the biggest conspiracy against the country and its sports,” said the peaceful protesters.
Prominent among them were Pakistan Ju-jitsu Federation president Khalil Ahmad Khan, Pakistan Weightlifting Federation chief Hafiz Imran Butt, Pakistan Karate Federation president M Jahangir and a number of officials of national and provincial sports bodies. They appealed to the government to take notice of the situation and to direct the concerned quarters to vacate the POA house from the possession of armed individuals backed by a rival faction of the POA.
The ju-jitsu federation chief said the POA led by Gen Arif was recognised by the IOC as well as Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the forceful possession of the POA house came as a big shock for those who were related to the country’s sports. “It is a very unfortunate incident and we strongly condemn it and appeal to the higher authorities to resolve this issue on top priority basis as delay can provoke the IOC to suspend Pakistan membership and the country can be deprived of participating in international sports events abroad,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gen Sahi-lead POA’s senior vice president DIG Zafar Abbas Luk has dismissed the allegations of forceful possession of the POA house and said genuine people had taken over the control of the POA house after their success in the elections of the national Olympic committee.
“As per a decision of the apex court and according to the direction given in the national sports policy, Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hassan was heading the POA illegally after running the POA for the third successive term,” he added.