LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation president Khalid Sajjad Khokhar will look up to the sport’s world governing body if the government continues to interfere in the federation’s affairs.

Khokhar apprised Pakistan Sports Board director general Asif Zaman and Minister for Inter-provincial Co-ordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari on Monday.

The PHF president, who currently stands de-notified by the PSB from his post, told the officials that he was committed towards following the federation’s constitution — which was in line with International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) statutes — to conduct its elections, which were due in May.

It was the PHF’s failure to meet the deadline for the polls in the first place that made the PSB de-notify Khokhar, along with secretary Asif Bajwa and the federation’s treasurer. Khokhar had rejected the step.

“I have talked to both DG PSB Asif Zaman and the federal sports minister and have informed them that I am duty-bound to follow the PHF’s constitution, which is aligned with the FIH,” Khokhar told Dawn on Monday.

“The talk was held in a very good atmosphere and we have reached at a consensus that all the issues including the release of the financial aid of the PHF will be solved after the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

“Everyone knows that the international sports federations do not like the interference of the government in the affairs of the respective sports federations, so, in the national interest, all the matters will be discussed and will be resolved amicably after the games.”

Khokhar is currently in Birmingham, where he travelled to with the Pakistan contingent for the Games.

Following Khokhar’s de-notification, the PSB last week had appointed a four-member committee to run the PHF’s affairs and conduct the elections in the next 30 days.

One of the members of the committee, Nasir Ali, had also announced the name of the election commissioner for the polls. However, according to the PHF constitution, only the federation’s president has the authority to make appointments.

Khokhar, in a show of power and also to reject PSB’s move, named Haider Hussain as the PHF secretary after the committee was named.

The committee, interestingly, had made the announcement of the election commissioner’s appointment through the PHF’s media Whatsapp group, which implied that the PHF had surrendered to the PSB.

However, Khokhar’s talks with the government officials clearly indicate that he is adamant to uphold his constitutional right as the PHF president to hold the elections.

In the recent past, the PSB has interfered in the matters of the Pakistan Olympic Association and the Pakistan Football Federation, despite clear stance from the both the bodies’ respective parent organisations against government interference.

While the world football governing body FIFA has slapped Pakistan with multiple bans in the last decade, the International Olympic Committee was not very far from suspending Pakistan’s membership.

Dawn tried to reach DG PSB Asif for a comment, but he did not respond to the approaches.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2022

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