KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) continues to intimidate former captain Kaleemullah Khan and embarrass itself as they sent out a show-cause notice to him for simply speaking his mind and for 'not appreciating' the national team at the South Asian Football Championship (Saff) where Pakistan lost to India 3-0 in the semi-final.
پاکستان فٹبال فیڈریشن کوڈ آف کنڈکٹ ۔ فٹبال فیڈریشن کہتا ہے ہم لوگوں نے بارہ سال میں 20 سٹیڈیم بنائے بارسلونا کو پاکستان بلایا۔ اپ اتنے ایماندار شخص فیصل صالح حیات پر کیوں تنقید کیا۔ فیڈریشن نہ مجھے تنخواہ دیتی ہے نہ انکے ساتھ میرا کوئی کنٹریکٹ ہے نہ رجسٹریشن ہے pic.twitter.com/hOx1eKTwxs— Kaleemullah Khan (@Kaleemullah_10) September 17, 2018
While Kaleemullah had been constantly showing his support through social media platforms before and after every match of the Saff Championship, cheering his former teammates, despite being sidelined from the national team because he spoke about the inconsistencies of the PFF and the fact that the federation had failed to built even one international standard stadium, the PFF left no stone unturned to make an example out of him.
The letter says, "violation of PFF code of conduct and discipline', while adressing Kaleemullah as the 'ex-national footballer'.
اپ لوگ میرے اوپر غدار کا الزام لگادو وہ ٹھیک ہے میں بات کرو تو غلط ۔میں ڈرنے والو میں سے نہیں ہو https://t.co/qWLhPswRE8— Kaleemullah Khan (@Kaleemullah_10) September 17, 2018
The letter said that no officials or players or managers are allowed to talk to the media about the PFF affairs, but it contradicts itself when they call kaleemullah an 'ex-footballer'. The federation quoted their Article 2 for the violation, then went on to say that kaleemullah was not 'appreciative of the team's performance' at the Asian Games, where the U23 team lost to Vietnam 3-0 and Japan 4-0 only winning a match against Nepal 2-1, which was Pakistan's first win in 44 years at the games, and also making a statement agaisnt PFF while Pakistan were playing Saff Championship.
In reality, Kaleemullah had only been supportive of the team. Both claims by the PFF are invalid to begin with.
Kaleemullah had only spoke out about the PFF when the federation's Vice President and the controversial president of Pakistan Punjab Association Sardar Naveed Haider called him a 'traitor', 'selfish', 'greedy' and unpatriotic for choosing to play in Turkey, without verifying that Kaleemullah went to the National team camp in Lahore and was told by the officials that he can join in later with the overseas players.
Kaleemullah was meanwhile signing a contract in Turkey, and he had requested the PFF to let him join the team in Bahrain at the training tour.
The PFF technical director Shahzad Anwar was quoted in the local media as saying that Kaleemullah was 'unfit' and therefore was not in the squad for the Asian Games. However that itself was a harrowing statement to make as Kaleemullah was signing with a Turkish club that will not take an unfit player by any margin.
On the other hand, Haider is celebrated by the PFF as he is the chief guest in almost all the events that take place in Lahore now.
Kaleem asks for explanation
"I'm asking the PFF to explain why Haider called me a traitor, called me greedy, they should explain that first," said Kaleemullah while talking to The Express Tribune.
He said that he did not receive the letter directly even.
"My former club K-Electric forwarded me this letter by PFF. The Federation sent the letter to them because they did not have my contact, so I got it after three days of its issuance, I'm surprised," Kaleemullah said.
"I stand by my statements, I'm not backing off. After the camp in Lahore I knew I may not get a spot in the team, I thought PFF was parting ways with me, and I quietly walked away, till I was called unpatriotic by their officials, only then I spoke up," added Kaleemullah.
He said that the lack of facilities and unprofessional attitude of the federation has only pushed the players back instead of helping them progress forward.
"Even if Messi comes in with Barcelona FC to play in Pakistan, they will not play the same way, because we have bad pitches, we don't have player insurance, we don't have professionals that run the federations, I'll say what the truth and they have a problem with it. It is my right to say this, to tell them to improve the system, I'm not talking against the team, I'm talking against the system," said Kaleemullah.
The PFF has given him the deadline to explain his comments in the media till September 29, but the Chaman-born striker concluded, "What explanation do they want from me, I'm not under any contract with the PFF, I'm not getting paid by them, they have just called me an ex-national footballer. Why are they asking for the explanation from me. I need them to explain this treatment. I need them to clarify this behavior. I don't think any of the players know about the code of conduct either. I'd like them to explain it."
The letter also said that Kaleemullah's case can be taken to PFF's Disciplinary and Ethics committee, that does not run according to the Fifa statutes. They names of the officials in the current disciplinary committee are not known either.
In 2015, Fifa mission had concluded that "PFF judicial bodies, including the disciplinary committee, were not properly formed because of the lack of separation of powers."