ISLAMABAD - President Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool met with Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif outside the Parliament House soon after the joint session on Tuesday and discuss in detail about the difficulties and problems being faced by the federation in running day-to-day affairs and also about international commitments.

Akhtar also met with Federal Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and IPC Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada. While talking exclusively with The Nation Tuesday Akhtar described his meeting with PM as highly fruitful and looked completely relaxed. “I traveled all the way from Lahore on early Tuesday morning just to meet PM, who is also the patron of the federation, and as soon as the joint session of the parliament concluded, I went straight to PM and apprised him about the actual situation and about four major events in which national team and junior teams would represent country. These include Australian tour, Korean tour, Olympic Qualifiers and Junior team’s tour of Europe. I informed him in detail about the funds situation.”

He said he also informed the PM about the factual position of the funds. “The matter of the fact we didn't receive any special grant from the federal government since taking over. All the funds were received by the former management. The PM was very cooperative and listened to each and every word of mine with great interest. He promised to release the grant in a day or two. We had requested Rs 500 million but IPC Ministry had sanctioned Rs 350 million. I hope the said amount would be released in next 48 hours as promised by the honourable Prime Minister. I am very hopeful PM will definitely fulfill his promise as I know him very well. He is a sportsman and always helped federation in the past too.”

When asked about whether it was a planned meeting or invited by the PM, Akhtar said it was not a planned meeting neither PM invited him. “The matter of the fact is I decided to travel to Islamabad and try to meet with the PM. I am very grateful that PM didn't disappoint me and without schedule and giving appointment, he gave me so much time. I can understand the PM is very busy in internal and external issues of grave importance.”

When asked about his meeting with Federal Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and whether he asked about Indian Hockey Federation email, Akhtar termed his meeting with Information Minister as highly productive. “Yes I informed him about the email and we had already categorically declined Indian Hockey Federation offer. I had informed Indian counterparts that Pakistani government in the past had always supported the PHF and players and same would continue in the future too. Senator Perviaz promised that government would oversee the financial issues of the federation and would not leave federation and players alone. He asked me to carry on the good work and initiatives we had taken in the short span of time. I informed him in detail about our future plans and the measures we are taking to take Pakistan hockey back to old glory days. We have a solid plan and we are slowly and steadily working on that agenda.”

When asked about his meeting with IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Akhtar was full of praise for Pirzada. “He not only lauded Pakistan hockey teams recent performances but fully endorsed them and termed that the results speaks itself. He was very happy with the progress being made by the federation and players and assured would go all out to help federation just like the past and would try to resolve all problems within a short span of time.”

“Now I am quite relaxed and fully focused on task ahead. We would soon award not only central contracts to players, coaches and selectors but also clear all their outstanding dues as well. I am quite sure the special grant would be released in a day or two, which would all but end all the problems and players would get a new lease of life and their on and off field performances would start to come thick and fast,” Akhtar concluded.