By Alam Zeb Safi,
KARACHI: The election commission of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on Saturday rejected the nomination papers of former PML-N MPA Ali Haider Noor Khan Niazi who wants to contest the election for the presidential slot of Punjab Football Association (PFA), highly credible sources told ‘The News’.
The elections will be held on April 17.
A source in the PFF told this correspondent that Niazi’s papers were rejected because he had no evidence of his attachment with football for at least two years.
“He did not qualify as per rules, so his papers were rejected,” the source said.
Niazi said he had anticipated this. “They had told us that we would be informed by 6pm but still we have not received any information. Faisal has made his brother-in-law the election commissioner. How could he accept my papers!” Niazi said.
“Everything about my attachment with football is there in the District Football Association’s (DFA) record. I told the PFF officials if there was any problem in its record then I could not it,” Niazi said.
He said the PFF did not follow its rules. “The PFF has itself violated rules. As per rules, the nomination papers had to be issued from April 7. But the PFF’s chief Faisal Saleh Hayat and secretary Ahmed Yar Lodhi held a meeting and got blank nomination papers signed from some of the members who had been invited,” Niazi alleged.
He said that he would challenge the rejection of his papers in the Lahore High Court (LHC). “We have the majority and Rana Ashraf and Arshad Khan Lodhi are our covering candidates. Everything will become clear on April 17,” he asserted.
Niazi stated that they would register cases of corruption against Faisal in NAB and anti-corruption department.
Sources in the PFF claimed that Niazi and former PFF’s secretary Hafiz Salman Butt along with 80 to 100 people came to the PFF House and tried to harass the members of election commission.
They also shut the gate of the PFF House for a long time. “Nobody was allowed to go out or enter. Even the meals for Pakistan’s under-14 players could not be brought to the house,” a source said.
The sources said that Pakistan under-14 football team and 24 women coaches who were staying at the PFF House remained worried because of the situation.
However, sources in Niazi’s group told this correspondent that they only requested the members of the election commission to let them know whether the nomination papers had been accepted or not.
They admitted that they had a large number of people with them but they were all footballers. “We had footballers with us. It was our right to inquire about the result of Niazi’s nomination papers. But when we were told that the result would be known by 6pm our footballers held a sit-in in front of the PFF House,” a source said.
This correspondent learnt that the PFF lodged an FIR in Gulberg police station against Niazi and his supporters, accusing them of harassing the members of the PFF’s election commission.
A source in the PFF said that the PFA elections would be held as per schedule. The source said the PFF would handle the matter and FIFA would not be informed at this stage.
The PFF’s Marketing Consultant Naveed Haider is also contesting the election for the post of PFA president.
A source said that Captain Safdar, son-in-law of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is set to contest the election for the PFF’s presidency in July.For that purpose, his group has prepared a solid plan. If Safdar steps in, it will create problems for Faisal as he will not be able to get the required votes to get elected for a fourth successive four-year tenure.
A source said that Faisal spent Saturday in Karachi and met several important people. A source said that an effort was being made to get a stay order against the election of the Sindh Football Association.