by Mohsin Ali
ISLAMABAD – The power fight between Makhdoom Syed Faisal Salah Hayat and elected Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Engineer Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah is all set to cost national players dearly, as it is almost sure now that AFC will allow Faisal-led Pakistan team to play World Cup qualifiers against Cambodia on June 6 away leg and on June 11’s Pakistan home leg at the neutral venue of Bahrain.
Engineer Ashfaq was duly elected as the PFF president in the elections held last year on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan. But like witnessed in the past, no one is ready to leave the posts and uses international bodies as tools to save his/her skin and wants to spend entire life in respective federation. Same happened in the PFF when Makhdoom, despite spending more than a decade as PFF president, is not ready to pay any heed towards rule of law, Supreme Court of Pakistan orders, despite he has welcomed Supreme Court orders and hailed them outside Supreme Court building.
Using his relations with AFC, Makhdoom had secretly assembled players in Bahrain, who will represent Pakistan in the World Cup qualifiers against Cambodia. The most astonishing thing is that why does government of Pakistan keep on sleeping, why Supreme Court doesn’t take any action against Makhdoom’s anti-Pakistan and anti-football policies. On what grounds, AFC allowed Makhdoom to field team in the name of Pakistan, in which around 15 players are foreign based, while a few players have flown from Pakistan, against whom their respective departments and PFF are taking prompt action.
Recently, four-member FIFA delegation led by Luca Nicola along with P Kattel, Alexandre Gros and Andrew Mercer arrived in Lahore and met with Makhdoom Faisal and PFF lawyers including Ch Zulfiqar advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan and Barrister Taha Alizai, in which PFF lawyers had presented all the evidences of malpractices, embezzlement of funds, misuse of powers by Makhdoom and also presented proofs of other allegations. The elections report was also presented to the visiting FIFA delegation.
PFF President Engineer Syed Ashfaq Hussian Shah also had a detailed meeting with the FIFA delegation, in which he informed them about the elections process and requested them to allow elected PFF body to send Pakistan football team for the World Cup qualifiers. FIFA delegation informed him that AFC is now holding qualifiers but if Pakistan team earns a place in the World Cup, it will be in FIFA’s domain and then they will see the matter. They advised Ashfaq to write a letter to AFC. He told the delegation that they had already wrote letters to the AFC and requested them to provide justice and allow genuinely-elected PFF body to send Pakistan team.
When this scribe contacted Principle Staff Officer to PFF President, Syed Sharafat Hussain Bukhari, who is also IFA secretary, he said: “We had duly informed FIFA, AFC and wrote letters to government, IPC Minister and used every available platform. We can only request while it’s government’s duty to ensure elected representatives should have selected the national team. We arranged a month-long training camp of national team at Pakistan Sports Complex under head coach Tariq Lutfi and assembled 55 players from across the country, who were provided the best facilities.
“We requested the government and international bodies time and again but no heed was paid. It is not about Ashfaq or Makhdoom, it is about future of Pakistan and its players. I also request Supreme Court to take suo moto action as it is about the reputation of the country and future of players,” Sharafat concluded.
Players including skipper Saddam Hussain have requested Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan to provide them justice and take action against those, who had deprived them of their due right of representing Pakistan in the World Cup qualifiers.