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HI wants to play bilateral series: PHF

Lahore: Under tremendous pressure following Pakistan hockey team's seventh place finish at the London Olympics, the PHF on Monday tried to deflect the criticism by claiming that Hockey India had invited them to formalize a regular bilateral hockey series between the two countries.

"Yes Hockey India wants us to meet them and finalize details for regular home and away bilateral series," Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary, Asif Bajwa said.

Bajwa said he along with PHF President Qasim Zia would visit India next month for this purpose.

"The series may be resumed early next year but we are keen to have India play in Pakistan first as it would help in the revival of international hockey in the country," he added.

However, Zafarullah Khan, who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking for a complete review of the reasons which led to the Pakistan contingents shoddy performance in the Olympics, said first the PHF officials needed to answer for the shame in London.

"Before going to India they must be accountable to the nation for what they have done to improve the sport in the last four years," Khan said.

Khan in his petition has said that "Nepotism, favoritism, corruption has destroyed Pakistan's participation in the Olympic games.

"Yes I have said this in my petition because our sports system is in shambles because of corruption, nepotism and favoritism and we don't even have a proper workable sports policy after so many years."

Pakistan, the sixth most populous nation in the world with 180 million people returned empty handed from London despite high hopes from the hockey team.

It's hockey team, returned with a seventh place finish, while its lone shooter, two sprinters and swimmers were knocked out in the preliminaries. Pakistan has won 10 Olympic medals to date — eight of them in hockey. Their last medal came at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Khan called the lack of medals "shameful" and termed it a "national crisis" for which a judicial inquiry was needed.

"If there was any medal for corruption and begging in the Olympics [Pakistan] could have won all three places," he added.

Former Olympians, Samiullah, Islahuddin, Shahnaz Sheikh, Qamar Zia, Qamar Ibrahim, Ayaz Mehmood, Rasheedul Hassan, Hasan Sardar Naved Alam, Mohammad Saqlain etc have also called for the PHF officials to resign themselves or face a movement.

(Agencies)

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