Home Views & Opinions Irregularities in Pakistan Arts Council Karachi galore

Irregularities in Pakistan Arts Council Karachi galore

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As a senior citizen and life member of Pakistan Arts Council my head hung in shame when I watched the proceedings at the last General Body Meeting under the chairmanship of Commissioner Karachi as a consequence I had no option except to walk out at the wrong procedure adopted by the Commissioner when he said 5 people from each side shall speak and then there was a pandemonium in the hall. Under the rules in any general body meeting each and every member has right to express his views and no restriction can be applied on any member, that was not allowed hence all the proceedings were illegal but who cares.
Unfortunately over the years we find everywhere Mafias sitting duly patronised by the stake holders that include politicians, bureaucracy and local administration. Therefore they continue to challenge the government writ throughout Pakistan and have become so powerful that no one can touch them. In a country where the prime minister openly admits that he has failed during these two years even to help his brother in law whose plot has been illegally occupied by land mafia makes everything clear, in spite of approaching police to do the needful. But fighting for rights is jihad. Likewise mafia like situation is prevailing in Arts Council Karachi where the management continuously refuse to provide list of members of arts council. While writing down this article just read very heartening news that Sind Information Commission has ordered Executive Director Arts Council to provide members list to President Karachi Editors Club by 25 November 2020. It is not a favour it was long overdue and Executive Director was violating provisions of Article 19-A of the constitution of Pakistan where it is mandatory to display entire information on website of those institutions which receive grant from government. It is just a first step towards transparency in holding next elections. Commissioner Karachi should immediately constitute a Committee to scrutinise the list of members and delete names of those who did not qualify to become members of arts council.
Question arises what is an Arts Council, what it should be, what are the criteria’s of becoming members. Why laws are flouted? What is so secret about its Bye laws, why these are not displayed. Amending Bye Laws is a regular exercise. For making any amendment these need to be circulated to members for their comments and in puts. Is it happening, if not ? What action has been initiated by the Chairman. There should be no provision of making members who do not meet the basic requirements. It is reliably learnt that even Arts Council employees are also members that is certainly not only a wrong decision but highly objectionable. What is criteria of making life member, is it enough that he is old, does he meet other parameters? What role has been assigned to Life members? What about annual audit? Who carries it? It has to be arranged through renowned CA firm. Audit report must be circulated to members for any comments and observations. Under which clause government funded building can be named on serving president. How ridiculous it is when we have plenty of known great artists. Why Commissioner who is chairman of Arts Council raised no objection. It should be free from political interference for the sake of transparency. Is the Arts Council a platform to favour bureaucracy, business community or our focus should have been on the people who fulfil criteria of being members belonging to art and culture with excellent track record. Why membership is kept secret? Why list of new members is not circulated for the information of all members. Why no place is reserved for senior citizens and life members? Why no place is earmarked in the building for the opposition group. There are many more relevant questions that must be agitating the minds of the members
I would like to share my own experience as a Life Member I sent a letter to Executive Director Pakistan Arts Council on 10th October to provide me up to date list of members of arts council to my utter surprise my letter has not yet been answered.
Under the circumstances president Karachi Editors Club deserves great appreciation in pursuing this matter as per law that has resulted in instructions by Sind Information Commission to provide the complete list of members of arts council Karachi to the applicant by 25 November 2020. The scrutiny must be done properly by constituting a neutral committee as suggested earlier before holding fresh elections, if there is delay in scrutiny elections may be delayed by appointing a care taker set up. Let this be stated categorically no one is against any individual or group, what we want neat and clean set up elected on laid down criteria’s and there should be no provision for membership who do not meet the laid down terms and conditions. The main purpose is to convert this Arts Council into the best Cultural centre of Pakistan for which we all can feel proud.