By Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: Two weeks before the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) elections, Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat plans to continue holding the president’s office, denying any possibility of being ousted by the Extra-ordinary Congress over charges of alleged incompetence and fund embezzlement.
Hayat, an executive committee member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the PFF chief since 2003, said the congress in Islamabad was not legitimate as the full strength of 26 members was not present, adding that the body was led by Colonel Farasat Ali Shah and Arshad Lodhi, the two officials who had been suspended by the PFF last month.
“This claim is not at all legitimate,” Hayat told The Express Tribune. “In fact, this will not derail the election process in the PFF at all.”
Lodhi and Farasat, along with newly-elected chairman of PFF women’s wing member Kashmala Tariq, held a press conference in Islamabad claiming that according to article 30B of the PFF constitution, the Extra-Ordinary Congress had met with due cause. But the constitution also states that a 15-day notice is supposed to be given prior to the meeting being called, but Hayat claims that did not happen.
The PFF also called the Extra-Ordinary Congress a sham, saying in its press realease, “The conduct of the non-bonafide and illegal individuals for the sole purposes of benefitting themselves is nothing but another failed attempt to take over an internationally recognised body. It is clarified that this illegal action by already disgraced and suspended individuals has no bearing on the working and conduct of PFF and all its allied bodies. The entire structure of PFF and all its wings are carrying on their work in accordance with approved regulations and statutes.”
AFC, FIFA officials to come to Pakistan on June 30
Hayat said that the scheduled elections will take place on June 30, with the AFC and FIFA officials being part of the process. “The AFC and FIFA officials will be here in Lahore at the congress to observe the elections,” said Hayat. “It is a matter of legitimacy and the international bodies will observe our activities. They have to be there to see if the elections are fair or not.”
Meanwhile, the Extra-Ordinary Congress’ newly elected secretary Farasat said that the new set-up is a result of PFF’s and Hayat’s alleged corrupt practices. Farasat was slapped with a five-year suspension by the PFF; a move which the official claimed was unjust due to biased reasons.
He added that 20 members out of 26 back the new set-up. Eight departments including Army, PAF, Navy, Railways, PIA, HEC and Police attended the Extra-Ordinary Congress on Tuesday in Islamabad. “We had asked PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi to call the congress on May 27, but nothing happened, so we held it on our own with more than one-third majority,” said Shah.