PHF refutes allegations of human trafficking

Bans Tiger Club; orders Islamabad Hockey Association to look into matter and submit report

Nabil Tahir May 21, 2016

KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) yesterday moved swiftly to distance themselves from allegations of human trafficking.

Two weeks ago, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) forwarded a copy of a letter to the PHF which contained complaints against Tiger Club owners — former WAPDA hockey player Neelma Hussain and her husband Aamir Salman — for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.

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According to the letter, sent by former national player Bilal Shabbir, the couple were involved in registering the club, an affiliate of the Islamabad Hockey Association (IHA), for tournaments in Europe and Middle East and then sending people, guised as players and officials, who would then disappear and never return.

Following the revelation, the PHF acted swiftly and condemned Tiger Club’s actions while distancing themselves from any involvement in the illegal activity.

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“We have banned Tiger Club from all hockey-related activities and have asked the IHA to look into the matter and submit a report. The PHF has got nothing to do with this and we strongly condemn it,” said PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmed.

Earlier, Tiger Club had asked permission from the PHF to hold an indoor tournament which involved international players and Ahmed went as the chief guest and gave away the prize at a ceremony in Dubai.

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“Yes, we allowed them to hold the event but did not issue any permission letter to allow international players to participate in the event,” said Ahmed. “I also went there to distribute the prizes, but I was only invited as a guest and had no involvement in the tournament or with the club whatsoever.”

Shahbaz also revealed that the PHF has now decided to not allow any hockey tournaments to take place in the country unless they are organised by the federation itself. “We wanted to revive the national sport and that’s why we allowed others to hold events,” he added. “However, now we have decided that no events will take place in the country unless they are being organised by the PHF.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2016.

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