Pakistan parliamentarians to probe visa allegations
Islamabad: A parliamentary committee in Pakistan is to investigate allegations that hockey federation officials misused the governing body’s authority to help obtain visas for people looking to emigrate.
Jamshed Khan Dasti, who heads the National Assembly standing committee on sports, said it wanted to get to the bottom of the serious allegations from officials and former players.
“Such allegations are badly damaging the image of the country and its sports team. We want to know the truth,” he said.
Former Pakistan captain Mansoor Ahmed and ex-national coach Naveed Alam have alleged that some PHF officials misused the federation to obtain visas for European countries and encouraged some people to slip away in Italy while going there as members of official delegations.
The federation last week slapped a lifetime ban on Ahmed, a member of Pakistan’s gold medal teams at the 1994 Champions Trophy and World Cup, charging him with posing as a federation official to obtain visas from the United States embassy for a private team.
Alam, a former national team player, was also given a lifetime ban, with the federation alleging he misappropriated funds when he was Pakistan manager and coach last year.
Both former players have rejected the charges and vowed to contest the bans.
Dasti said whoever was found guilty would not be spared.
“The committee will look at evidence and recommend strong action against such people,” he added.
A PHF spokesman told reporters senior officials would appear before the parliamentary committee.
“We will clear the misconception of people slipping away in Europe while on official hockey tours,” he added.
Pakistan, once a powerhouse in hockey, has fallen prey to internal politics and bickering and has not won a major title since 1994.