by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday announced that Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) elections would be held within one month, ‘The News’ learnt on Wednesday from people who attended the hearing.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ruled that the elections would be held under the supervision of Shoaib Shaheen, a member of the Pakistan Bar Council and senior Supreme Court advocate.
Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah were the other members of the bench.The court announced the elections on a CM filed by Arshad Lodhi on October 23 in which it had been pleaded that in the first phase Punjab Football Association’s (PFA) elections were held and as advised by this court in April, 2018, the elections of the PFF should be held now.
The apex court in April had ordered that the PFA elections should be held within 14 days. It had also said that after the PFA elections the PFF elections would be conducted.The PFA elections were held under the supervision of experienced lawyer Ali Reza last May in which Sardar Naveed Haider was elected as president.
‘The News’ learnt that the court told Shoaib Shaheen that the PFF would give him Rs500,000 for conducting the elections.Shoaib said that he would donate that amount for the construction of dams.
Sardar Aslam and Zulfiqar Chaudhry were the legal counsels of Arshad Lodhi. Afzal Khan represented PFF during the hearing on Wednesday.Afzal told the court that as per rules two months advance notice is given to the units.
It is pertinent to mention here that this case had been disposed of on June 25. FIFA has given time to the PFF until March 2020 to revise its constitution and hold fresh elections. The PFF might also get FIFA’s input following the court’s decision on the matter.
The PFF had last year been suspended by FIFA for third party’s interference. The world body restored Pakistan’s membership in March this year, days after LHC had restored the PFF. The PFF and its rival group had remained involved in a legal fight since 2015 on the issue of PFF elections. Because of the issue, football activities in the country remained suspended for over three years.
Pakistan fell in international rankings and thousands of players and their families faced severe financial problems. It was only last summer that Pakistan returned to international football when they featured in the Asian Games and SAFF Cup held in Indonesia and Dhaka in August and September.Pakistan team is currently in Palestine for an international friendly to be held on Friday (tomorrow) at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram.
LAHORE: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has ordered on Wednesday fresh elections of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in a month’s time under the supervision of Shoaib Shaheen.
Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, the lawyer of the Arshad Khan Lodhi group of the PFF, told Dawn that the bench, comprising Saqib, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, announced the decision which would hopefully end the long-running legal battle between the two PFF factions — one led by Lodhi and the other by Faisal Saleh Hayat.
Election commissioner Shoaib is a member of the Pakistan Bar Council and it is likely that the elections will be held in Islamabad. Overall 26 members of the PFF Congress will cast their votes including three each from four provinces, one each from Islamabad, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Police, Wapda, Higher Education Commission, women’s wing and the referees’ association.
Those 23 members will first elect three women members who would complete the quorum to 26 before the presidential election of the PFF, the second-most cash-rich sports federation of the country after the Pakistan Cricket Board, is held.
The SC had ordered the PFF to hold its presidential elections back in April, barely a month after FIFA lifted a six-month ban on the PFF for “third-party interference”. Elections of the disputed Punjab Football Association (PFA) were held under the orders of the apex court in May but the presidential election wasn’t held.
In October, FIFA gave Hayat — Pakistan’s football chief since 2003 — a mandate till March 2020 to ratify the PFF Statutes and hold fresh elections. It would be interesting to see how the world body reacts to this latest development.