By Gary Anderson

July 2 - Pakistan Basketball federationPakistan have been suspended by the the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), punishment for their support for the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), currently the centre of a dispute over governance. 

In a letter to the Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBF) and POA, FIBA highlighted the continued presence of PBF President Asif Bajwa on "this illegal committee" as the main reason behind the suspension.

The letter informed PBF that it had forfeited its rights under Article 8.1 of the FIBA General Charter, which allows member federations to propose candidates and vote in elections and take part in FIBA recognised competitions, because the PBF was "no longer in good standing with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)."

"Your direct participation in chairing this interim committee further confirms that you are acting against the efforts of the IOC to establish a sports movement in Pakistan that functions in an independent manner free from interference," the letter informed Bajwa, who is also the secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

Under the IOC's Olympic charter, National Olympic Committees (NOC) are the sole organisers of affiliated Olympic sports and must remain autonomous and free from interference from government institutions and other bodies.

In May of this year, the IOC threatened Pakistan with suspension from the Olympic family following the creation of a separate body - the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) - to the POA, which it said was "preventing the POA from exercising its activities as foreseen by the Olympic charter."

While that threat of suspension has not been implemented yet, the IOC did suspend neighbouring India in December 2012, due to Government interference in Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections.

In February of this year, Bajwa claimed that the interim committee had the support of 20 national federations within Pakistan, including those of fhockey, athletics and tennis.

It was around this time that FIBA sought clarification from the PBF regarding its involvement with the interim committee.

"FIBA and FIBA Asia got in touch with the PBF at the beginning of February to enquire about their active participation in the interim committee and requested that they refrain from this participation and support the IOC in its efforts to establish an Olympic Movement in Pakistan that functions autonomously and free from governmental interference," a FIBA spokesman told insidethegames.

"The PBF responded to FIBA that it could not do so.

"Following a meeting of the central board, a decision was taken to suspend the PBF."

Arif HasanArif Hasan who leads the IOC backed POA which is in dispute with an interim committee led by PBF president Asif Bajwa

The IOC recognised POA, led by general Arif Hasan, which held the 32nd National Games in Lahore last year.

However, Asif Bajwa's interim committee has been granted Rs80 millon (£879,000/$1.3 million/€1.03 million) by the PSB to stage the ongoing National Games taking place at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad from June 28 to July 4.

"This interim committee was established by the Pakistani Government and several national federations with the view to taking over the affairs of the NOC in complete disregard of the efforts undertaken by the IOC and the NOC to put in order the Olympic movement in Pakistan," said the FIBA spokesman.

Bajwa has said that he has written to the IOC inviting them to come and observe interim committee elections, adding that as far as he was concerned the interim committee has met all legal requirements for holding elections, within the laws of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Asked by insidethegames whether a resolution was possible and how long the PBF's suspension from FIBA membership is likely to be upheld, the world governing body spokesman reiterated the sentiments laid out in its letter to PBF president Bajwa.

"The suspension of our member will last until (a) they refrain from their participation in the interim committee; (b) they officially support the duly recognised POA and (c) fulfil other membership obligations as provided by FIBA's General Statutes.

"The IOC, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), POA and International Federations are all working towards a speedy resolution of this matter for the good development of sport in Pakistan," he said.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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