ISLAMABAD - Government-backed Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Maj Gen (r) M Akram Sahi Wednesday said that time was ripe to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to settle the POA dispute once and for all.

Talking to The Nation, Gen Sahi said: “I have waited a lot and now the time is ripe to have a detailed meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian M Nawaz Sharif. I will also request him to invite Gen Arif Hasan and resolve the POA issue in the best interest of the country and its sports. I am quite confident that the PM will take the right decision which will be abided by us.”

“For the past one year, I had various plans for the promotion of sports. I had taken onboard people, who had great vision, but all my plans failed to be materialized as my hands were tied and it was not possible for me to implement those plans until and unless I will be given all powers. I had contested elections and with the help of majority of the federations affiliated with the Pakistan Sports Board and who are following government Sports Policy, I managed to win the POA elections last year,” he added.

He further said: “Despite not taken a single penny grant from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as they are not recognising us and even the PSB has not given us any grant for the last one-year or so, I have been running the Olympic House and bearing all the expenses from my own pocket. The PSB has a budget of Rs 900 million, but out of such hefty amount, only Rs 60 million is being spent on the federations while rest of the amount is being utilized by the PSB on salaries and other administrative affairs. How is it possible to expect even ordinary results from the federations in such a meager amount, so sending athletes for international meets and conducting camps without money is a far cry. I managed to generate funds with my own resources and send athletes abroad.”

The POA chief said that they had been following the PSB Sports Policy and Supreme Court orders in true letter and spirit. “We have not only accepted the Supreme Court orders in our favor but also follow orders that went against us and we had implemented the SC orders in all the affiliated federations. All the changes in the Sports Policy were approved by the cabinet.”

“If the government wants to make changes in the constitution, they have to take cabinet’s approval. The government should stick to just one clear policy as I don't know on what grounds IPC minister Riaz Pirzada is giving contrasting statements. It can be his personal wish, but if the government has changed their heart even then it is needed to be presented in black and white. We have always abided by the government instructions and will do the same in future too. We can't follow verbal directions and if the minister thinks he has taken all stake holders on board and has the backing of the cabinet, he should simply write us and then we will decide our future line of action,” he asserted. “I want to ask a very simple question from Lt Gen (r) Arif Hassan that what are his achievements from last 10 years or so and why he failed to bring revolutionary changes in Pakistan sports. He did nothing significant in his two tenures then why and on what grounds he should be given another term. I have drastic plans and if I am allowed to handle POA, I will change the fortunes of Pakistani athletes in due course of time and it is my challenge, if I fail to deliver, nobody is going to ask me to leave, I will quit myself. I am a man of words and I will fulfill all the promises I have made,” he asserted.