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Gov't to ask Lt Gen Arif Hasan to resign from Olympic post

Updated 14 Aug, 2021
The government representatives blame Lt Gen Arif Hasan for Pakistan's poor performance in Olympics. Photo screen grab from Public News
The government representatives blame Lt Gen Arif Hasan for Pakistan's poor performance in Olympics. Photo screen grab from Public News

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill on Friday said the government has asked for the resignation of Lt Gen (r) Arif Hasan as the president of the Pakistan Olympic Association following the team's poor performance at the Olympics in Japan.

Gill was joined by Dr Fehmida Mirza, minister for inter provincial coordination, and they were addressing a press conference in Islamabad when they held Arif Hasan accountable for Pakistan's performance at the Olympics.

Pakistan has not won an Olympic medal since 1992.

Gill said they decided to ask for Hasan's resignation following a meeting with the prime minister. They said the government had no hand in appointing the retired lt. general and he wasn't a government representative.

But Dr Mirza said Lt Gen Hasan had been in charge of the POA for 17 years so he was responsible for the failures.

“He kept on getting elected as the president of the POA and succeeded in managing his elections through officials of his own choice,” she said.

They're also asking for the the POA team's resignation. This would allow the Pakistan Sports Board's election body to conduct new elections for the positions.

Dr Mirza also said that they're waiting for a sports policy to get cabinet approval soon.

Dawn reported that the POA plans to hold an emergency meeting to respond to Gill's press conference.

The organization plans to tell the prime minister that Lt Gen Arif was elected through "a fair process in 2019, with representatives from the IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia also in attendance. It will also reiterate that interference in its matters will lead to intervention by the IOC," Dawn reported.

Twitter demands resignations

Following Pakistan's poor performance in Tokyo, social media users took to Twitter to demand Lt Gen Arif Hasan's resignations. This trend especially gained traction when javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem came fifth in the Olympics, and people felt he would have done better had he had proper training facilities.

Here is a snapshot of some of the tweets that demanded Hasan's resignation.

People were especially upset at the prime minister's tweet which was meant to inspire people to persevere in their training.