KARACHI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday stayed the elections of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) which were scheduled to be held on Tuesday (today).
Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF was set to conduct its electoral meeting at Changla Gali, while Zahir Shah group was due to meet at Lahore to elect the PFF’s new president.
“Yes, the court stayed the PFF elections which were going to be held on June 30,” Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) legal adviser Irfanullah Khan told ‘The News’.
“There were so many petitions, including two from the PFF against us and one had also come from Arshad Lodhi group,” Irfan said.
“If PFF still held elections it would be contempt of court,” the adviser said.
“July 6 has been given the next date of hearing,” Irfan said.
The PFF was represented by Khurram Raza at the hearing.
The base of the court’s decision was the three-year old legal battle between Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and PFF whose hearing was conducted on Monday.
The PFF had challenged the national sports policy and the legal status of the PSB.
Several other petitions from the PFF regarding elections of Punjab Football Association (PFA) and occupation of the FIFA Football House Lahore also had been tabled before Justice Farrukh Raza Irfan, sources said.
They added that the judge, after listening to the arguments from both sides, ordered that no PFF elections would be held till these issues were adjudicated.
A source who was present at the hearing said that the PFF had also filed a petition against the Director General Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Usman Anwar and his alleged role in the takeover of the FIFA Football House Lahore by the Arshad Lodhi group.
Former PFF secretary Hafiz Salman Butt said Faisal and company could not go against the court order.
“The stay order was issued on the petition filed by the PFF itself. And I hope they will not go against the order,” Butt told this correspondent.
“If they held their elections it would be contempt of court. Elections are around 27 hours away and it’s enough time,” Butt said.
PFF secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi said that he could not comment unless he got a copy of the order.
“We have not received any order. We can tell you once we get any such document,” Lodhi said.
When asked about the AFC observer, Lodhi said: “He has almost reached here.”
The Zahir Shah group will hold its meeting on Tuesday (today) in Lahore to devise future strategy.
“We plan to hold a formal meeting. The venue has not yet been decided,” a source in the Zahir Shah group said.
Following a controversial April 17 PFA elections, PFF issued a notification on April 18, declaring Sardar Naved Haider new PFA president. The Arshad Lodhi group challenged it in LHC, which asked SBP to probe the issue. The Board, as directed, recorded the statements of the Arshad Lodhi group.
The other group did not respond as it was of the view that the SBP did not have the authority to handle the issue.
On May 13, the Arshad Lodhi group held elections in which Rana Ashraf was elected as PFA president and Mehmood Khalid as secretary.
The SBP then submitted the election result with the LHC. The PFF went for intra-court appeal against the elections which was rejected.
The PFF filed another appeal in the same court. It is yet to be disposed off.
On June 10, PFF’s disciplinary committee slapped 20 congress members of PFA with life ban for forming a parallel provincial body.
On June 16, Faisal’s rival group convened an extraordinary congress meeting of PFF in Islamabad which suspended Faisal and dismissed secretary Col Ahmed.
Arshad Lodhi was made acting president and former senior official of PFF Col Farasat Ali Shah acting secretary.
Former MNA Kashmala Tariq was made chairperson women wing. Arshad and Farasat assumed charge after taking over the PFF secretariat on June 20.