LAHORE: While giving no indication of reviewing its stance over suspending Pakistan in July for violating the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter, the IOC accepting the government request has proposed May 21 to continue the dialogue with the government, as per the agreed road map of October 2013. In a communication to Secretary of the Inter Provincial Coordination Ministry Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry, dated April 15, the IOC stated: “We take note of the appointment of Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry, Secretary, Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, as the focal person, on behalf of the government of Pakistan to deal with the IOC and resolve the situation as per the agreed roadmap of October 2013. In view of this we accept your proposal for a new meeting and to this end we are pleased to invite you to come to Lausanne, Switzerland, as soon as possible. We may propose the date of May 21, 2014 for a meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne with IOC/OCA/Olympic Movement representatives including in particular IOC Member Syed Shahid Ali and the IOC-recognised Pakistan Olympics Association (POA) headed by retired Lt Gen Syed Arif Hasan,” the letter read. “In the meantime, we hope concrete actions will be taken on the government side as per the agreed roadmap of October 2013 and tangible progress will be presented by the government during this meeting in Lausanne,” the letter added.
It may be mentioned here that if the government accepts the proposed date (May 21), it may be the last meeting between government and the IOC to decide on Pakistan’s membership, as the IOC has already decided that it will suspend Pakistan in its next executive board meeting to be held in July this year, if government does not stop violating the IOC Charter. In its decision taken in Turkey earlier this year, the IOC executive board had warned Pakistan, saying: “Government interference in the running of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Pakistan led the IOC to hold a meeting in Lausanne in October 2013 with all the parties concerned, during which it was agreed that the IOC would verify the legitimacy of the NOC’s composition, in consultation with all the International Federations (IFs) concerned, which was done and that the government would revise the provisions of the National Sports Policy that were incompatible with the Olympic Charter. Until now the government has not kept its promises. However, it did recently contact the IOC proposing a dialogue to improve the situation, which the IOC has agreed to. The executive board decided that should the agreed road map not be followed, the NOC of Pakistan will be suspended at the next executive board meeting in July.”
Interestingly, while Pakistan’s IOC membership has been at stake for a while now, neither the last PPP government nor the current government of PML-N showed any concrete and sustained interest to avoid the ban, also in order to safeguard interests of the country’s athletes. More interestingly, the attitude shown by Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada during his visit to Lahore some three months ago was highly inappropriate, when the minister had said that he didn’t fear the ban as it could not be longer than six months.
The said minister is still maintaining the same stance as during a recent appearance before the Senate Standing Committee his attitude, at least apparently, didn’t reflect any seriousness or interest towards resolving the matter according to the IOC ruling. The sub-committee of the Senate Committee has also given its ruling in favour of IOC-recognised POA president Arif Hasan. However, the minister has stressed recognising unlawful and parallel POA headed by retired Maj Gen Akram Sahi.
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