Pakistan’s parliament fined members of it national field hockey team after photos surfaced of them hugging a female liaison officer at the Champions Challenge tournament in Argentina last month.
Rehan Butt was fined $1,175 and coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa $588 each.
Pakistan team members took pictures with the liaison officer during the official players’ night at the end of the tournament. The dinner was also attended by other participating teams and their officials. Pakistan lost the final to New Zealand.
“It is not our culture to hug a lady,” said Jamshed Dasti, chairman of Pakistan’s lower house standing committee on sports. “The players are ambassadors of their country and they should remember this well.”
Khan said that the Pakistan Hockey Federation had already taken note of the pictures, which were uploaded on YouTube.
“The lady requested us to have photos with her, but I agree with the committee members that some pictures were objectionable and it should have been avoided,” Khan said.
One of the female members of the committee, Nasim Akhtar Chaudhry, said the photos sent the wrong message about Pakistan’s traditions and culture.
“We live in an Islamic country,” she said. “We didn’t shake hands with males when our women parliamentary delegation visited the U.S. last year, and here they are giving a hug to a lady.”