ISLAMABAD: A special parliamentary committee on Friday expressed its concern over the delay in the final decision of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) court case as it believed the sport was suffering in the country.

In another case, it showed its reservations over the recent step of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) of sending 70 persons to China on a week-long culture trip.

Appearing before the committee was the court-appointed PFF administrator retired Justice Asad Munir and he told that Pakistan was suspended by FIFA due to the legal dispute between two factions — one led by Faisal Saleh Hayat and the other by Arshad Khan Lodhi.

He added that the court had reserved its decision.

When committee members Shibli Faraz and Ilyas Ahmad Bilour asked him why football events weren’t being held, Munir said that he was appointed by the court to conduct fresh elections and handover the office to the new body.

Bilour came down hard on Munir when the PFF administrator failed to remember the name of star woman footballer Shahlayla Baloch, who died in a car crash 2016.

Munir said he doesn’t follow the game much to which another committee member Khushbakht Shujat asked him to step down from his post.

Faraz, meanwhile, said that Munir’s appointment was a conflict of interest and he should justify his salary of Rs5,00,000 by at least showing some concern about the stagnating game in the country.

The committee meanwhile called upon the court for an early decision in the case.

The other case discussed under the supervision of Senator Dr Ashok Kumar revolved around 40 people, who were not sportspersons, being sent to China for a trip. There other 30 were medal winners at last year’s Indoor Asian Games.

Amongst the 40, 15 were students of Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur — the alma mater of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada.

The committee was stunned to know that from the remaining 25, four were from Sindh, four from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three from Balochistan, two each from Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan while the rest were from Punjab.

The IPC minister however said that the through a culture programme fully funded by the Chinese government, a 100-member youth delegation (below the age of 45) was sent. “The Chinese Embassy directly dealt with 30 cases, while PSB was asked to send the remaining persons,” he informed.

He said there was a shortage of time so he made students of Sadiq Public School part of the delegation, because the school has been “contributing in sports” and added that two youngsters each, on the recommendations of provincial boards, were also part of the delegation.

The committee members were satisfied but said that in the future, provinces should be given more chances.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2018

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