KARACHI: The headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation in Lahore were sealed on Sunday after the failure of its occupants to pay its lease over a period of three months, effectively meaning that it is not now in control of Ashfaq Hussain Shah’s court-elected body.

The takeover of the PFF headquarters by Ashfaq’s PFF from the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee had seen Pakistan suspended by the global football body, which said the ban would remain until the headquarters were vacated and handed over to the NC.

The NC issued a short-worded statement saying it was “monitoring the developments surrounding the PFF headquarters”, while hailing it as a “positive move” and adding it “expected” to regain control of the headquarters.

The PFF NC has recently gained full support of the government in its dispute against Ashfaq’s PFF, which came to power through an election held by the Supreme Court in December 2018 but took over the headquarters after saying that it couldn’t trust the Haroon Malik-led committee.

FIFA would only accept a PFF election held by the NC and there remains a prevailing feeling that the move by the Lahore commissioner to seal the PFF headquarters was done on the instructions of the federal government to accelerate the resolution of the dispute.

Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Dawn however Sharafat Bukhari, a member of Ashfaq’s PFF, downplayed the development.

“We will pay the outstanding dues of our lease agreement tomorrow and will be able to get the headquarters back,” he told Dawn on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2021

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