ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and Secretary Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior categorically denied allegations against federation’s involvement in human trafficking and said, giving permission to affiliated associations to conduct local events is by no means fall into any kind of human trafficking.
Brig Khalid and Shahbaz Senior expressed these views during Meet The Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association (RISJA) at PMDC office on Thursday, while PHF President and secretary also congratulated RISJA for successfully conducting Pakistan Sports Writers Federation General Council and elections and extended heartiest greetings to newly elected President Amjed Aziz Malik, secretary Zahid Farooq Malik and office bearers and offer his all out support to PSWF and RISJA to work closely with PHF for the promotion of hockey in general and other sports in particular.
Brig Khalid completely rubbishes claims made by some certain individuals regarding federation or any official of PHF is involved in human trafficking, I with utmost responsibility claim that we are neat and clean and nothing to do with such crime, one thing is crystal clear, three groups contacted me and wanted to conduct in door hockey events, I with the consultation of Shahbaz Senior gave them permission to hold event, but we didn’t issue any permission letter for international participation, if anyone had the proves federation letter pad or any official is involved in human trafficking, bring into my notice, it is my promise I will take action and give exemplary punishment to the culprit.
He further assured that we have suspended Tiger Hockey Club immediately and written letter to all the affiliated associations, Shahbaz Senior attended Aamir Salman’s event in Dubai, but he had no personal relations with the guy, in fact, he attended the event just because of one factor and that was to promote hockey at international level, I also attended the prize distribution ceremony, but believe me we were not aware of the hidden facts, now we have formulated a high-level inquiry committee and waiting for their report to be submitted, as soon we get the report we would dully act and culprits would be left with no place to hide.
He further said, I am a man of principles, I had taken over the President office with some clear goals and vision, let me assure all, if I fail to implement my vision and ideas, I would step down, I would not waste a single day in the office, yes I had given few plans and some of them are implemented and some are in the pipeline, the biggest achievement of our 8 months or so tenure is the junior team managed to beat India twice and book a place in the Junior Hockey World Cup, while I accept, Pakistan senior team conceded too many goals in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, we are lacking behind even in Asia, talking about world is a far cry, but we know the direction and we have the people, who could take Pakistan hockey back to same old glory days heights, but it would take some time.
He further said, when I took over we had only 30 players from which we had to form the national team, but in short span of time, through open trials now by the grace of Allah almighty, we have enhanced the pool to 130 and we are also working tirelessly on grooming and inducting U-16 level tournaments, we have made our annual events calendar and details of entire year events are mentioned in that.
He further said in short sapn of time we managed to hold national championship, women championship, send two junior and one senior team abroad and conducted open trials, people talk about 70 million funds released by the government, but they don’t know we had around Rs 30 million liabilities to clear, which we managed to clear, it was my and Shahbaz’s top most priority to clear players, officials dues and also clear dues of vendors and travel agency as well, it is not possible to conduct championships, camps and send teams abroad for international events in such meagre amount, I had met with Prime Minister’s personal and Military secretaries and had detailed conversation with them, I requested them to allocate Rs 250 million annual grant for PHF, private sponsors would only come when our hockey team start to produce results, nobody is ready to induct money without getting returns.
When asked about Pakistan Hockey League and how many international players are expected to play in Pakistan, Shahbaz Senior replied, we have received highly satisfactory response from international players, we have hired two companies and would give go ahead to the company which offer us the best revenues and they had promised at least two international players would appear in each of the 5 proposed participating teams, while European players have also given assurance, in case the PHL is not possible at home soil, then we would look neutral venue, while our negotiations with Haier Pakistan is also on track and within two weeks, the deal would be final, they were offering something, which was not enough, but now talks are in right direction, Gojra is the nursery of hockey and it had provided so many players to national team, but unfortunately groupings hampering the progress, we are working closely and trying to resolve their issues so hockey would not suffer and players of the city get representation in national team like past.
“We are working very hard to revive school, college hockey and activate academies in different cities, if the government give federation control of only one stadium either at Lahore, Karachi we don’t need to depend on government for funds, we can easily generate sufficient amount of funds, we lack quality goalkeepers, we are working very hard on producing world class goalies and anybody recommend me quality goalie, I invite him to camp, while we are also working on short corner specialists, we need a quality short corner expert like the great Sohail Abbas to stand better chance of scoring more goals on short corners.
Brig Khalid and Shahbaz again thanked RISJA and PSWF for accepting their invitation and coming in numbers for the Meet The RISJA and hoped that the close relations with sports journalists would help Pakistan hockey, as without media help hockey could never get its due status, he requested media to promote soft image of the country, yes do mention our short comings, but it is our humble request rather than publishing or airing first inform us so we could rectify our errors and ensure smooth functioning of things. NNI