LAHORE – A wave of protests has not stopped against Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalization Committee Chairman Hamza Khan and Member Mujahid Tareen. Strong peaceful protests in this respect have been lodged against the committee in most of the cities of Punjab, the most populated province of Pakistan which covers almost 60% population of the country. The protestors, including football clubs’ organisers, players and persons from civil society, raised slogans, lifted banners and placards against the biasness and one sidedness of the committee formed by the FIFA to resolve the PFF’s five-year long issue.
“The committee has acted totally biased, it will not work in this way, the problems of football are even deepened after the formation of NC (normalization committee),” Asghar Khan Anjum, Ex international player of Pakistan and coordinator of Punjab Football Association, said while leading the protest here. Azam Khan leading another protest in the second largest city of other province Sindh told this correspondent that the only way out is to bring new, neutral and unbiased chairman to replace the current Hamza,
“The problems with Hamza Khan are manifold, he does not know the structure of local football even he had tried to remain fair, on the other hand, he has openly supported Ashfaq Shah group which was obvious from the day one” Azam said. “How could he be considered an impartial chairman while having very close long-term ties with Taha Alizai, the legal counsel of Ashfaq Group,” Azam questioned.
Another renowned former international player of Pakistan Ghulam Ahmed Kaka, who was also part of the protesters, said that that the formation of the committee by FIFA was welcomed by the football family in Pakistan hoping that it will cause to end the 5-year long debacle, which has caused huge damage to the game in the country, but it went otherwise when Hamza Khan was announced as the chairman of the committee and Mujahid Tareen as one of the members. He further said that Mujahid Tareen always had enmity for the previous PFF setup which he used to express openly.
“The whole football community in Pakistan knows that one member of the committee Mujahid Tareen has always been a close supporter of Ashfaq group. How a person, who is the member of the committee, can become the general secretary of PFF at the same time. We request FIFA to review the committee members as the situation of football in Pakistan is deteriorating day by day after the committee has been announced,” Kaka said.
Such protests have been witnessed all over the country with same demands including the cities of Lahore, Hyderabad, Multan, Gujrat, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari, Layyah, and Pakpatan, where the members of district football associations along with football players, referees and football fans expressed their anger against the same two members of the committee.
It is notable that the committee formed by FIFA has become controversial from the day one of its formation due to several views that it is clearly supporting Ashfaq Hussain group, one of the warring factions.