by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) headed by Engr. Ashfaq Hussain has proposed a four-month deadline for the Normalisation Committee (NC) to conduct free and fair election in coordination and connivance of the federation in a document submitted with the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination here Friday.
The document that is available with ‘The News’ has set some realistic conditions in an effort to resolve football crisis in the country.
One of the most important conditions set for the amicable settlement of the long-standing football dispute is a free and fair PFF’s elections within four-month time.
“The NC should immediately issue an election roadmap whereby the election process should be completed within four-month time. The conduct of the elections within this period is possible as the electoral code and election roadmap was already approved by the FIFA. We want complete assurance that all appointments to be made towards holding of the elections will strictly be made on merit. No individual with bias or dubious background should be given any task whatsoever in the election process. Currently each NC member is representing their faction in the committee, therefore a member from our faction should be included in the NC,” the document submitted with the ministry says.
The PFF vouched to hand over the entire floor at the Football House in Lahore to the NC for making all the arrangements ensuring free and fair elections within four months.
The eight conditions set forth by the PFF to solve the football crisis in the country include considering the fact that now the PFF and NC are entering into an amicable settlement, therefore it is expected that no hard feelings or revengeful intentions are kept against each other. Therefore, for the betterment of the future of football in Pakistan it is expected that the NC would show good faith and strictly adhere to implement election rules and conduct them in a fair, transparent and impartial manner; the NC should immediately issue an election roadmap whereby the complete election process should be completed within four months; a member from our faction should be included into the NC; the current elections will be held as per PFF constitution (2014) and that for scrutiny all registered clubs (2143) approved for voting rights and playing rights in 2015 will be eligible to vote after passing through strict scrutiny process; the NC will not indulge themselves in any other activity other than fulfillment of their mandate as an ‘Electoral Committee’ to hold the PFF elections. Nine months period to conduct the elections is unacceptable and cannot be agreed upon under any circumstances as this period is applicable in normal circumstances only; the NC will ensure that no PFF employee is terminated unnecessarily from their job unless there is strong evidence of indiscipline and wrong doings; all these points should be incorporated in a legal agreement which will be signed and will be binding on both the parties. Approval of this document will be essential by FIFA and AFC.
The body headed by Ashfaq Shah reminded all the stakeholders to honour the Pakistan Football Federation elected through the orders of the Supreme Court on December 12, 2018.
The elected PFF was never dissolved neither the elected members resigned from their position.
“After the decision of the FIFA and AFC to install a Normalisation Committee in Pakistan, we honourably extended all our cooperation and complete support to the normalisation committee on September 26, 2019. We handed over the administrative control of the PFF headquarters and an amount of Rs165 million to the NC in good faith with the approval of the PFF Congress and Executive Committee for holding of free and fair PFF elections within the mandate period given by FIFA.”
The working of the NC in 18-month tenure is known to all. “No serious efforts were made to conduct free, fair elections. This is the reason which prompted the PFF congress and Executive committee to take notice and reassume the charge of PFF on March 27, 2021.”
The Lahore High Court Bahawalpur Bench, Bahawalpur issued an injunctive order on 25-11-2020. Since this petition is at pre-admission stage and respondents are under notice and the main petition seeking interim relief, the respondents are restrained from holding further elections in the matter.
“NC has no mandate to take over or demand for Football House. The facts are that Football House was indeed constructed by the FIFA Development Fund allocated to Pakistan Football Federation as one of the Goal Projects while the land was leased to Pakistan Football Federation by the Government of Punjab and the Football House is the legal Property of Pakistan Football Federation. No one can dispossess the elected body of this and with the injunction of the honorable high court in the field, no activity regarding election can be done. NC cannot do anything regarding the election process and if done, it will result in contempt of court.”