AIPS / KARACHI: Pakistan risk suspension from all international football after leaders of the national; football federation reclaimed conrol of the PFF offices and effectively kicked out the normalisation committee which had been appointed in Septemver 2019 by world governing body FIFA.
A statement issued by the normalisation panel said: “The PFF office was attacked in Lahore by [former president] Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah and his group. Sardar Naveed Haider Khan was also present with the attackers. The PFF staff were physically harassed and were held hostage. The group has taken over the PFF house.”
Malik Haroon, head of the normalisation committee, said: “It was something scary. They stormed my room at around 1:30pm and started shouting. I told them to give me two minutes. I told them ‘let’s sit in the auditorium and talk’. Led by Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah they told me that they have decided to take possession.
“I said it would have grave implications for Pakistan football if FIFA were to suspends Pakistan. They said they would handle things. I told them to think before any adventurism. They said ‘hand over and leave.
“My whole staff was physically harassed. As the glass door, the exit door, had been locked so I broke the glass to exit the house. Our lawyer is handling the things. I am in contact with FIFA. Currently I am very much depressed.”
Ashfaq denied Haroon’s claims, saying: “We neither harassed Malik Haroon nor anyone else was in the PFF headquarters.
“We gave Haroon all the respect. We went to meet him today and handed him the letter that we have got a mandate from the PFF Congress and exco to reassume charge of the PFF.
“I told him that we had given the NC the charge in good faith in September 2019 with the hope that it would hold the PFF elections in a fair and transparent way within the FIFA mandate. But it did not do anything in the past 18 months.”
Ashfaq, described the ‘invasion’ said: “Malik told us to give him some time. He went to his room and we waited for quite some time. Then I all alone went to meet him in his room and told him that under the directives of the PFF exco and congress we are going to reassume the charge.
“We had handed charge to former NC chairman Humza Khan in a very cordial way in September 2019 and he (Haroon) should reciprocate by giving us charge back in the same manner. But he did not accept. I requested him five times.
“Then he himself picked up his bag and started leaving. When he went down, the glass door was shut and he broke the glass and exited. Is this a civilised way?
“We had 20 people with us and had our intention been to harass him then he could not have left but we did not want any such unpleasant thing. Our people are filing case in the police station.”
In September 2019 FIFA installed the NC under Humza Khan with a mandate to hold the PFF elections by June 2020. It did not do so. FIFA then extended the mandate until December 31, 2020 but again nothing was achieved and Humza resigned.
FIFA recomposed the NC and brought in Haroon in January as its chairman. A few days ago he had told media that the election roadmap would be unveiled by the second week of April.
Ashfaq said the compromised PFF officials were ready to meet FIFA to discuss the future.
He added: “Yes we are ready to meet FIFA. I will tell FIFA that I have written 14 letters to it during the last few months but the world body did not even reply.”