By Kalbe Ali, Mohammad Yaqoob
LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: An Extraordinary Congress meeting of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in Islamabad on Tuesday suspended its president Faisal Saleh Hayat whilst terminating the services of its secretary Col. Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi.
The Congress decided to elect Arshad Khan Lodhi and Col. Farasat Ali Shah as its acting president and secretary respectively to conduct the upcoming PFF elections on June 30.
The elections had earlier been shifted to Changla Gali in Abbottabad district but now will be held at the PFF headquarters in Lahore.
“Out of 26 members of the PFF Congress, 18 were in attendance,” Col Farasat Ali Shah told Dawn from Islamabad. “Amongst the members were representatives from eight departmental units, three members each from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Football Associations, one from Islamabad, one from the Referees Association and one member each from Diya WFC and Young Rising Star WFC.”
There was no representation, however, from Sindh and Balochistan.
Sources who attended the meeting claimed that the members had written to the PFF Executive Committee to call an Extraordinary Congress on April 26.
According to the PFF Constitution, if the Executive Committee fails to do that, the members — if they make up 1/3rd of the Congress — who have called a meeting can themselves call an Extraordinary Congress.
Farasat added that now Arshad will hold the elections in which Hayat will be able to contest against KPFA chief Zahir Ali Shah.
Hayat, however, downplayed the Congress, saying he did not feel like responding to such things. “First of all, who are these people in legal terms? We should understand that they are non-entities in the PFF,” he said.
What Faisal was referring to was the fact that Arshad, who presided over the meeting, had been suspended by Hayat along with 18 other members of the Punjab Football Association (PFA) for forming a parallel body in the province.
Kashmala Tariq named PFF Women’s Wing chairperson
The fall-out continues from the controversial PFA elections in April where Sardar Naveed Haider won the polls with Arshad, who was then PFA chief, and his supporters having left the election venue when it was announced that the elections had been postponed.
They later held their own elections which saw Rana Ashraf elected president.
Arshad and his group claim to be the elected representatives from Punjab and question the legality of the PFF Disciplinary Committee which has banned them, also saying the current PFF constitution had not been approved by world’s football governing body FIFA.
Tuesday’s meeting also showed that the Congress members have no confidence in Hayat as majority of the members were present.
The Extraordinary Congress also held elections for the PFF Women’s Wing in which they elected former MNA from PML-Q, Kashmala Tariq as the new chairperson while Tassawar Aziz was named deputy chairperson.
“I’ve been appointed as the chairperson of the women’s wing after a Congress meeting which was held today,” Kashmala said while addressing a hurriedly-called news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday night.
She also announced that the Congress decided to suspend the membership of Hayat and the membership of Lodhi had been terminated.
“Today’s Congress meeting saw majority of members deciding to take action against the PFF president and secretary due to their incompetence and financial embezzlements.”
She even said that there are chances that case against Hayat will be forwarded to the FIA and maintained that her own election as women’s wing chairperson was legitimate as it was done by the Congress.
She also declined to respond to the query as to why the press briefing was being arranged by a department of ministry of information. “This question better be asked from the government,” Kashmala said.
Meanwhile, PFA president Rana Ashraf said Hayat had not only damaged the game in Pakistan but the level of corruption has reached to new heights during his 12-year reign as the country’s football chief.
“I have been in the PFF for 25 years but the level of football has never fallen so low as it is now,” he said, adding that 18 members had convened the meeting.
Though, he did not participate in the talks with the media but the former PFF secretary Hafiz Salman Butt was also present at the hotel premises where the press conference was held.