LAHORE: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has ordered on Wednesday fresh elections of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in a month’s time under the supervision of Shoaib Shaheen.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, the lawyer of the Arshad Khan Lodhi group of the PFF, told Dawn that the bench, comprising Saqib, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, announced the decision which would hopefully end the long-running legal battle between the two PFF factions — one led by Lodhi and the other by Faisal Saleh Hayat.

Election commissioner Shoaib is a member of the Pakistan Bar Council and it is likely that the elections will be held in Islamabad. Overall 26 members of the PFF Congress will cast their votes including three each from four provinces, one each from Islamabad, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Police, Wapda, Higher Education Commission, women’s wing and the referees’ association.

Those 23 members will first elect three women members who would complete the quorum to 26 before the presidential election of the PFF, the second-most cash-rich sports federation of the country after the Pakistan Cricket Board, is held.

The SC had ordered the PFF to hold its presidential elections back in April, barely a month after FIFA lifted a six-month ban on the PFF for “third-party interference”. Elections of the disputed Punjab Football Association (PFA) were held under the orders of the apex court in May but the presidential election wasn’t held.

In October, FIFA gave Hayat — Pakistan’s football chief since 2003 — a mandate till March 2020 to ratify the PFF Statutes and hold fresh elections. It would be interesting to see how the world body reacts to this latest development.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018

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