75-member Pak contingent to appear in Islamic Games: Gen Sahi

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THE NATION, Lahore, 10th SEPTEMBER 2013:- Pakistan’s 75-member contingent of athletes and officials will appear in six disciplines of the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games to be held in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia from September 22.
Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Maj Gen (retd) M Akram Sahi said this here on Monday at a press conference after the emergency general council meeting of the body. POA secretary Khawaja Farooq Saeed, senior vice president Zafar Abbas Lak and vice president Senator Haji Ghulam Ali were also present there.
Gen Sahi said the Pakistani contingent comprising 50 athletes, 15 officials and five headquarters officials would take part in athletics, basketball, badminton, volleyball, karate and wushu events. He said it was going to be a good experience for Pakistan players to exhibit their prowess in the meet of Islamic countries which would foster brotherhood and unity among the Muslim world.
The POA chief said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had started communication with them through emails and letters and it was hoped that things would improve between the two in due course of time. “It is a good omen that deadlock has been broken and we will be cooperating with the games’ ruling body in whatsoever matter they need our feedback,” he added.
To a query, he replied: “The IOC will not impose sanctions on Pakistan and if something happens in any manner, its responsibility will be on Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan who is heading a rival faction of the POA. As per a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan of May 8, 2012, Arif Hasan has been declared ineligible to work as POA chief for being in third successive term which was in violation of national sports policy,” he said.
The POA president pointed out that they did not have differences with the rival faction and expected them to accept the court verdict. “I am ready to sit with them to resolve this issue which is being highlighted by Arif Hasan at the highest sports forums at international level. Our doors are open to everyone and we are even ready for a dialogue with Arif Hasan and ready to hold the fresh elections of the POA in the larger interest of sports in Pakistan,” he added.
Gen Sahi said land of law was always superior and it was hoped that the IOC would respect the decisions of apex courts of Pakistan before taking any disciplinary action against the country. “Take the example of Indian Olympic Association, which was suspended by the IOC and the matter has not yet been resolved and suspension of countries by the IOC on one pretext to another is based on certain facts.”
He said they would approach Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) regarding the seat allocated to Arif Hasan for vice president. “If his election is by name then we will let him continue, otherwise, we will request them to allocate that slot to us.”
He rejected the question that the present sports crisis had badly affected the home sportsmen due to creation of national sports federations and their non-participation in international sports events. “I think the situation will improve with the passage of time and soon we will be taking part in the Islamic Games and then onwards efforts will be made to ensure Pakistan’s sportsmen in other international events under the banner of the OCA and the IOC,” Gen Sahi concluded.

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