By Mohammad Yaqub & Umaid Wasim
LAHORE/KARACHI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued an order asking the Sports Board Punjab (SBP) director-general Usman Anwar to submit a report on the recent controversial April 17 elections of the Punjab Football Association (PFA).
The elections became contentious due to a rift between the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and a government-backed candidate.
The PFF announced that the PFA elections saw its marketing consultant Sardar Naveed Haider Khan being elected president while the rivals claim that the polls were postponed.
Mahmood Khalid, who was PFA secretary before the elections, was not allowed to sit in the election meeting since PFA election commissioner Syed Nayyer Haider had disqualified him along with six other voters for allegedly attacking the FIFA House, when the nomination papers of government-backed Ali Haider Noor Niazi were rejected.
“My president Arshad Khan Lodhi moved to the LHC against the decision of the election commissioner under which he had declared Sardar Naveed as PFA president,” Mahmood told Dawn on Monday. “The court has asked Usman to submit a report.”
Usman, when contacted by Dawn, said he had only heard about the court order but nothing had come in writing to him. Usman had already rejected Nayyar’s claim that elections were held.
Out of the 35 members, 15 were with Sardar Naveed while the rest of the members left the election venue after seven voters were suspended from voting by Nayyer.
The PFF’s Electoral Committee secretary Col Farasat Ali Shah, who is also PFF’s Director Member Associations and Projects, also said the elections were postponed and gave a letter in writing that the elections were never held.
Col Farasat was issued a show-cause notice by the PFF on Monday for “blatant violations”. He did not comment on the issue when contacted by Dawn on Monday.
An hour later after the rivals left the election venue, Nayyer declared Sardar Naveed as PFA president.
Mahmood added that his group had contacted world’s football governing body FIFA and brought into its notice the entire situation surrounding the PFA polls. “FIFA has also asked the factual position from the election commissioner,” he said.
PFF issues show-cause notice to Farasat
Mahmood said he visited the PFF House on Monday to receive the nomination papers for the post of the PFF vice-president in the upcoming presidency elections due on June 30, but he had been refused at the pretext he had already been disqualified.
“I’m still a member of the PFF Congress as the LHC had given a stay against the suspension of all seven members of the PFA and I have every right to submit my papers for the PFF post,” he said.
Sardar Naveed, meanwhile, said that it was a direct violation of the PFF code that his rivals had gone to the LHC.
“They cannot go to the LHC with their complaints as they are bound by our code,” he told Dawn on Monday. “The PFF is governed by AFC and FIFA statues and if they have any issues, they should contact them.
“They are bound by the PFF code that they cannot go to any civilian court and that their cases will first be heard by the PFF Disciplinary Committee and then AFC or FIFA.
“If FIFA or AFC deems that it is a matter to be investigated, then only will they contact the PFF over what happened. I’m the duly elected PFA president. FIFA and AFC have already been notified about my election.
“He [Mahmood] is no longer member of the PFF Congress as a new body has been elected.”
The PFA elections were a source of a major tussle between the government and the PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat. Hayat is being challenged by his former ally and now government-backed Zahir Shah for the PFF hot-seat.
While Nayyer is Hayat’s brother-in-law, Col Farasat shares the same relation with Zahir. And Col Farasat has been accused of supporting Arshad and Mahmood in the PFA polls.
“PFF has issued a show cause notice to Mr Farasat Ali Shah, Director member associations and projects on account of highly controversial, prejudiced, biased and illegal conduct and role in the recently concluded elections of PFA,” said a PFF news release on Monday.
“Mr Farasat deliberately and in blatant violation of PFF rules acted far beyond the ambit of his duties, in a completely unlawful manner.
“He further supported and sided with a candidate in the elections, and also tried to pressurise the election commissioner to favour his supported candidate.”
The PFF added that his conduct was “highly derogatory and biased conduct, putting to shame all values of fair play and transparency” and also accused Col Farasat of misusing “his position” and “scandalising the image of PFF through false claims and statements”.