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Arif Hasan © Reuters Images

Pak sports bodies demand Olympic head resigns



Pakistan moved a step closer to suspension from the International Olympic Committee after at least 20 sports federations demanded Olympic association president Arif Hasan resign on Tuesday.

The federations are tired of Hasan, who has been in charge since 2004 and doesn't want to step down. He is backed by the IOC.

The federations formed their own interim committee within the Pakistan Olympic Association, and with the support of the government on Tuesday appointed an election committee consisting of three retired judges to set up fresh elections within a month.

The IOC has repeatedly warned Pakistan of severe consequences if the government continues to interfere in the affairs of the POA, and has summoned Hasan and a representative from the government to Lausanne on Friday.

Interim committee secretary and former field hockey Olympian Rana Mujahid says the committee's point of view will be communicated to the IOC in case a member cannot make it to Friday's meeting.

The IOC does not recognise any interim committee within the POA and advised Pakistan's federal minister, Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani, who looks after sports affairs, to send a representative.

"We are trying to do our best to have all parties concerned around a table so that no one can say that he has not been given an opportunity to be involved in the resolution of the issues," the IOC said on February 5 in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press.

The government introduced a sports policy in 2005 which ruled that no office-bearer could run for the same post for more than two terms of four years each.

Last year, however, Hasan was elected president for a third four-year term, much to the dislike of various sports federations.

Just before the London Olympics, the gulf widened between the government-run Pakistan Sports Board, which hands out grants, and the POA, and it was feared the IOC might suspend Pakistan for the Olympics.

However, the IOC allowed Pakistan to compete in London but also warned the POA and PSB to resolve their disputes. They still haven't.

And now the interim committee isn't willing to give Hasan more time.

"We have the support of 20 federations and we will request the election commission announce the schedule of POA elections within a month," said Asif Bajwa, the president of the interim committee.

Bajwa, also the president of the Pakistan Basketball Federation, claimed the interim committee has the support of major federations including field hockey, athletics and tennis.



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