KARACHI, July 24: Former Olympian hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed on Tuesday appealed to the government to stand up and take action against the elements bringing a bad name to the country’s sports.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, the Olympian called the latest Olympic visa controversy a conspiracy against Pakistan sports by the British media.
“It is the government’s responsibility to not remain silent on this and stand up and defend the allegation, otherwise, I fear that just like the terrorism label this human-trafficking tag will also stick to the country’s good name,” he said.
“Our sports are in grave danger. They may even be called ‘terrorist sports’ after the country being called a terrorist nation,” he added.
About the story where a travel agent in Lahore offered to provide fake Olympic visas for a price, the former goalkeeper said that perhaps the reporter, who did the story, and his publication weren’t aware of the strict policies associated with Olympics’ visas, otherwise they would not have printed such a baseless report.
“The embassies, sports bodies and various other departments from Olympics host country and the country of the athletes, all are in direct contact with each other. The departments on both sides issue the NOCs and Olympics committee monitors the entire procedure. Therefore no one can enter the Olympics city through the back door,” Mansoor pointed out.
“So this is just a conspiracy against Pakistan sports for which the government should sue the British reporter and his paper so that no one else dare target our sports again,” he urged.
“Still,” Mansoor added, “it is pertinent to mention here that some two years back, the current management of the Pakistan Hockey Federation was involved in sending abroad people, who had no association with sports, hockey or the PHF, on sports letters. But the issue when raised by me was quickly swept under the carpet by a senior official of the interior ministry.
“Two of our complaints about the human smuggling are also lying with the Federal Investigation Agency.”
“The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports also knows of this and a few arrests were also made in this connection,” he regretted, adding that he and his party Pakistan Muslim League (N) were watching the developments closely and if the government wasn’t interested in taking up this matter, they would do it themselves.
“Though I still say that the recent development is a conspiracy against Pakistan sports, I am not contradicting myself when I ask the government to kindly start an inquiry into the matter to weed out such negative elements from society,” Mansoor said.
“If we wanted, we could have taken the matter to the FIH [International Hockey Federation] but we don’t want our country to earn a bad name due to this. We can still do that if the government doesn’t do anything about it here,” he said.