In yet another massive jolt to an already beleaguered Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the country’s Sports Board (PSB) suspended the entire federation and has ordered fresh elections.
According to the PSB, a state-owned institution, the PHF was suspended with immediate effect on the orders of outgoing Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who apparently signed the order on his last day in office.
The PM is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board and PHF and has the authority to dissolve both the bodies.
The PHF office bearers have so far maintained complete silence over the drastic measure taken by the PSB which has, however, retained the same selection committee and team management of the senior and junior teams so that their participation is guaranteed in the upcoming Asian Games.
PHF president, Brigadier (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar got elected again for a third term early in 2022 after holding elections which the PSB refused to either recognise or ratify.
He held the elections in defiance of an order from the PSB after going to court.
The move by the PSB is massive since the PHF remains dependent on the government to provide funds for the senior and junior teams’ international commitments and players’ payments.
The PSB has appointed a committee to hold fresh elections of the PHF at the district, divisional and provincial levels after which the elected office bearers will elect the new PHF president and its congress.
Former hockey Olympians have welcomed the move to have fresh elections of PHF but have also called for the government to carry out a proper in depth audit of the federation’s funds.