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The future of football in Pakistan is looking bleak once again with unprecedented events in Lahore on Saturday.

The headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) was attacked by Ashfaq Shah and his group members, as per a statement released by the federation.

Ashfaq Shah is reportedly from the same group backed by the former PFF Chairman Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat.

As per the sources,
the members of the group took over the PFF house, harassed the staff members there
and took away the cheque books which halted all the activities of football in
the country.

Following such events, the PFF late on Saturday night announced that the ongoing 2021 Women’s National Championship, which was being organised in Karachi, has been called off.

Pakistan football
remained in turmoil over the years because of the political interference during
the reign of different governments.

Because of these reasons, in 2019, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) installed the Normalisation Committee (NC) under the leadership of Humza Khan who was given the mandate to hold the PFF elections by the summer of 2020.

However, the NC
could not deliver the election and FIFA ended up extending the deadline to
December 31, 2020. Humza later resigned from the post and was later replaced by
Malik Haroon.

He was present at
the PFF House when the events took place and while talking to Geo News late on
Saturday evening, he revealed that he had to break the glass door as he was
worried about his safety.

“Those people
stormed the building,” he said. “I wanted to take my staff with me out of the
building but they were physically harassing everyone there. I was not sure about
my safety so I broke the glass door and left.”

Strong reaction:

Following Saturday’s unheard-off events, there was a strong reaction on social media, not only from current and former players but also from football fans in the country who urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into the matters.

Woke up feeling as if it was the morning after a loved one had passed away. But also woke up to more messages of staying firm and holding course – grassroots is angry but grassroots is also defiant. Long live Pakistan football — Wengerullah (@wengerullah) March 28, 2021

Cannot imagine how every female player participating in this tournament must be feeling right now. This is what you get for putting your blood, sweat and tears into what you love in this country. Heartbroken and terribly sad. https://t.co/p6QVSnd2mn— Ahmed Shah (@AhmedShah94) March 28, 2021

Complete disaster, phir kehtay hein Pakistan mai football nahi kheltay, kheltay hein, khelnay nahi detay. https://t.co/1tjoPdXO8E— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) March 28, 2021

WAPDA women’s team players Sahar Zaman & Syeda Mahpara shocked over cancellation of 2021 National Women’s Championship after today’s forced takeover of PFF House, removal of PFF Normalisation Committee chairman and staff, and financial accounts seized. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/7Sm5C31DWe— FootballPakistan.com (FPDC) (@FootballPak) March 27, 2021

Let’s Start A Campaign to Do our part in Saving Football In Pakistan.#SavePakistanFootball @ImranKhanPTI— Kaleemullah Khan (@Kaleemullah_10) March 28, 2021

What kind of football is being played with Pak Football Federation. Shameful. @fifamedia @FIFAcom you need to sack all these old guys & find qualified young people. There are many youngsters who have earned sports marketing & management degrees that will do much better. #football— Fakhr-e-Alam (@falamb3) March 27, 2021

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Peshawar Zalmi’s owner Javed Afridi offered through his official Twitter account to bear the expenses of the 2021 Women’s National Championship to conclude the event.

SAD TO SEE THE DEVELOPMENT IN PFF & NATIONAL WOMAN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP BEING CANCELLED. “THE GAME MUST GO ON”. I’M READY FOR ANY FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO CONTINUE WITH THE TOURNAMENT.— Javed Afridi (@JAfridi10) March 27, 2021

It is believed that FIFA will look into the developments that took place on Saturday and ban footballing activities in Pakistan for a considerable amount of time.

Abdul Gh Lone

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