Say sorry or I’ll see you in court: Hockey chief

Qasim Zia tells Olympians to prove claims against federation.

Fawad Hussain January 11, 2012

KARACHI: As the deadline to respond to legal notices passed, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Qasim Zia has taken a firm stand against the Olympians, saying that nothing less than an apology would suffice failing which a court battle beckons.

The federation sent notices to 13 former players after they accused the PHF of human trafficking and violating its constitution in a letter to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, while also expressing their reservations on the national sport’s progress under the current management. Zia, speaking to reporters in Karachi yesterday, said all the former players, irrespective of their stature, will have to face the music if they fail to apologise.

“The Olympians must apologise or prove their claims in court,” said Zia who was flanked by PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa and chief selector Hanif Khan among other officials. “There’s no other way to resolve the matter. The allegations were serious and brought a bad name to the federation and the country. We won’t hesitate to launch an action against them because no one is above the country’s image.”

Zia said he was forced to take the firm stance to clear the federation’s name since the allegations came on record on all top offices after the letter was sent to the prime minister.

Meanwhile, he said that no Olympian had responded to the notices yet.

“We’ll initiate legal action today,” he said before confirming that Olympian Saeed Khan has disassociated himself from the letter and allegations in his reply.

Confident of semi-final berth at Olympics

The PHF chief also expressed his satisfaction on the team’s preparations ahead of the London Olympics.

“I’m hopeful that we will play the semi-finals,” said Zia, while adding that the training camp will be held after the National Championship and talks were being held to arrange a series or tournament before the Azlan Shah Cup in May. Meanwhile, Bajwa said the federation has set the target of winning the 2013 Junior World Cup and 2014 World Cup.

Reply sent to PHF: Sheikh

In a contradictory statement, Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh, who sent the letter on behalf of other Olympians, claimed all the former players have responded to the notices.

“We have responded through our lawyer,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune before refusing to reveal details. However, it was learnt that a difference of opinion remained and there was a chance of different responses being filed from the 12 Olympians.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2012.


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