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Gen Arif elected POA president unopposed

March 12, 2004

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LAHORE, March 11: All office-bearers of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), including president Lt-Gen Arif Hasan, were unanimously elected on Thursday.

Gen Arif was expected to win the election as POA former president Syed Wajid Ali Shah has been ill for quite some time. Surprisingly, no treasurer was elected.

A senior vice-president, eight vice-presidents, a secretary general, seven associate secretaries were elected on Thursday. A 22-member executive committee will be announced later.

Gen Arif read the names of the new officials at the beginning of the general body meeting and asked the house whether there was any other contestant against any office. The house remained silent and the general declared the officials elected unopposed.

Gen Arif is the 11th president of the POA. He replaced Syed Wajid Ali Shah who remained the POA president for 26 years. He was elected for the first time on March 3, 1978.

His son Syed Shahid Ali, who was retained as the senior vice- president, filed his nomination against Gen Arif, but later withdrew his candidature.

The following are the new office-bearers:

President: Lt-Gen Arif Hasan; senior vice-president: Syed Shahid Ali; vice-presidents: Prof Anwar Chaudhry (boxing), Chaudhry Yaqoob (volleyball), Maj-Gen Mohammad Safdar (athletics), Arshad Lodhi (football), Brig Musarratullah Khan (hockey), Mrs Sadiqa Afzal, and a representative from army and Wapda; secretary-general: Latif Butt; associate-secretaries: Col Yayha (army), Khaliq Khan (tug-of-war), Idrees Haider Khwaja (cycling), Saeed Khan (NWFP), Fatima Lakhani, Ahmad Ali Rajput and Afzal Awan.

Later, Gen Arif said at a press conference that the federations and departments which had been performing well in the past were given preference in the new body.

He said a vice-president each from boxing, hockey, volleyball, athletics, football, Wapda, army besides a woman Mrs Sadiqa Afzal had inducted. "Shahid Ali Shah was the candidate for the post of president but he withdrew in my favour and considering his vast experience in the affairs of the International Olympic Committee, we retained him as senior vice-president with Latif Butt as secretary," he said.

He said there were some disputes in different federations and he would pay his full attention towards their resolution. Gen Arif said he would announce his plans soon and stressed that more emphasis should be laid on activating youth, specially in schools and colleges.

Asked if the re-election of those who had completed more than two terms was in contravention to the national sports policy, Arif said: "The issue is sensitive and I want consensus on it."

Under the new sports policy, an official can hold a office fortwo four-year terms. It may be recalled that secretary Latif Butt has been holding the post since 1990.

"I will talk to them (officials) and remind them of the basic objects of the national sports policy. I hope we will move forward in a better way," said the new president.

He claimed that there would be no hurdle in smooth functioning of the POA in the absence of a treasurer. "This is an important post. As I am not familiar with the sports officials, I would search a suitable man and then fill the slot," he said.

There have been 10 presidents of the POA since independence of whom five were prime ministers (Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, H. S. Suhrawardy, Malik Feroz Khan Noon and Malik Meraj Khalid). Governor general of Pakistan Ghulam Mohammad and East Pakistan governor Lt-Gen Mohammad Azam Khan were the others prominent figures who held the office.

The following is the list of former POA presidents with their term in the office in parentheses:

Ahmad E. H. Jaffer (from 25-2-49 to 27-2-50).

Ghulam Muhammad (from 27-2-50 to 5-11-51).

Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar (from 5-11-51 to 21-8-55).

Chaudhry Mohammad Ali (from 21-8-55 to Sept 1956).

H. S. Suhrawardy (from Sept 1956 to 6-3-58).

Malik Feroz Khan (from 16-3-58 to 16-11-58).

Lt-Gen Azam Khan (from 16-11-58 to 22-9-63).

Rana Abdul Hamid Khan (from 22-9-63 to 3-4-72).

Malik Meraj Khalid (3-4-72 to Nov 1977).

Syed Wajid Ali Shah (From 3-3-78 to 11-3-2004).