By Mohammad Yaqoob
LAHORE: As feared, the elections of the Punjab Football Association (PFA) became disputed with both the contesting rival groups — Arshad Khan Lodhi and Sardar Naveed Haider Khan — claiming victory amid tension at the PFF House here on Friday.
The group backed by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and headed by Sardar Naveed claimed that it had won the elections after securing 15 votes from the house, out of 28.
On the other hand, the other group headed by Lodhi, the incumbent PFA president, said as the election commissioner Nayyar Haider had refused to conduct the elections, his group having the support of 21 members, elected its own body under the election conducted by one Col. Frasat Ali, the secretary to the election commissioner.
“Col. Frasat Ali has given us in writing that our group appeared in the PFF House with 21 members,” a spokesman of Lodhi claimed. As the PFF election commissioner did not hold the elections, and Lodhi group had showed its majority, hence it was the winner,” the spokesman told reporters.
On the other hand, the Sardar Naveed group claimed it had 15 votes out of 28 in the house, and therefore, it had won the elections.
The major dispute was over five voters, who had been disqualified by the election commissioner for being involved in attacking the PFF House earlier this week at the time of filing of the nomination papers.
All these voters belong to Lodhi’s group, who claimed that since they had only been given show-cause notice, and had to go through an inquiry process, they were eligible to vote, unless proven guilty.
On this situation, sources said, the election commissioner decided to postpone the elections but when Lodhi’s group asked under which clause the election commissioner had postponed the elections, he did not give any response. After reaching no result,both the groups declared themselves winner.
Meanwhile, media was not allowed to enter the PFF House where a heavy contingent of police was deployed, in and outside, to avoid any untoward incident.
Supporters from both the groups were also present in and around the PFF House. However, due to the presence of security personnel, no untoward incident took place.
Meanwhile, sources said some charged-up voters of the Lodhi group exchanged hot words with PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat, who in retaliation also tried to slap one of them.
The PFF House throughout the day remained tense as many voters had reached there at around noon, two hours before the scheduled start of the elections. A significant number of supporters from both the groups were also present outside the PFF House along with the media personnel.
Meanwhile, Punjab Olympic Association secretary Khawaja Idrees said he sent Malik Iftikhar, president of the wushu federation, to represent the association as observer but he was not permitted to enter the PFF House. Similarly, Pakistan Olympic Association secretary general Khalid Mahmood said that on PFF request, Mian Rafiq was sent as POA observer but he was not allowed access to the PFF House.