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POA Won Leagel Battle

Lahore: Pakistan Olympic Association (POA – NOC Pakistan) has won the long and well fought legal battle

The apex Court has declared the Pakistan Olympic Association a private entity and cannot be defined as a person under Article 199 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This implies POA is not a governmental or government controlled body. With announcement of this judgment, the position taken by faction led by Maj Gen (R) Akram Sahi stands illegal that they took to oust the Lt. Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan after losing elections in 2012.

The august Supreme Court of Pakistan has endorsed the stance of Lt. Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan and his team that POA cannot be termed as a governmental body nor it performs any function of the government. Since inception of this matter, Gen (R) Arif was categorically informed all the quarters that POA is autonomous and also it has to preserve its autonomy as per Olympic Charter, therefore application of governmental rules upon POA shall be counterproductive for the sports of Pakistan. This judgment while accepting the plea of Mr. Muhammad Khalid Mahmood General Secretary NOC Pakistan, who is the appellant in this case, has settled that writ is not maintainable against the POA (Association).

In simple words, Lt. Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan and his team advocated the legal and factual stance before the Courts of Law in Pakistan, Government of Pakistan (that had already agreed to this stance), media, society and the entire sports community of Pakistan that POA is an autonomous body. This stance made Gen (R) Arif and his team face an unprecedented pressure but they kept their nerves and saved Pakistan from the international embarrassment that might have resulted because of external interference in its affairs.

The individuals, who lost the elections, and their few supporters were advocating otherwise and misused certain rules and another judgment of august Supreme Court of Pakistan to create a parallel NOC and many National Sports Federations. This was of no avail as the sports federation maintained their status and even the expropriation of Olympic House did not turned in the favor of parallel body’s reps. The process of creating illegal and parallel bodies deteriorated the national sports and is one of the major reason of decline, witnessed since 2012. Interestingly majority of the writs against POA have been filed by individuals who have lost the elections or were the supporters of the losing candidates.

It is not high time upon the people whose stance has been declined by the apex Court to morally disassociate from the sports in any capacity. They did not only put the participation of Pakistani athletes in perils, Pakistan could not participate in Islamic Solidarity Games, 2013 and created embarrassment for Pakistan at international sporting arenas. Let see if the morality will prevail or we will witness other sieges upon POA.

NOC Pakistan should also make necessary arrangements to prevent such occurrences in future to save further decline of sports. It is understood that disputes in any organizations can surface but there are certain resolution processes. Olympic Charter as well as the Constitution of POA provides a framework and it was also in place at the time aforementioned litigation started. The individuals who disregarded the Olympic Charter should realize the damage they have inflicted upon the sporting community of Pakistan and at least accept the liability.

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