NGO’s role in ETPB raises legal questions | Pakistan Today

NGO’s role in ETPB raises legal questions

The influence of a non-government organisation (NGO) on the top management of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) remains intact despite the Ministry of National Harmony declaring it illegal.
ETPB’s incumbent vice-chairman who founded the NGO and got it registered in addition to other members of the NGO are still occupying top board slots and using funds allocated for education, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Documents show that some senior ETPB officials got the NGO, Pakistan Model Educational Institutions Foundation, registered in July 2005 under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and then merged it into the board in November 2011. Later, the NGO administration took administrative and operational control of educational institutions such as Ayesha Degree College, Nawaz Sharif Girls High School and Trust Model School etc. which are being run by ETPB in Lahore.
Lt Gen (r) Zulfiqar Ali Khan (former ETPB chairman), Pirzada Riffat Nawaz (vice chairman), Brig (r) Saeed Ahmad Rafi (secretary), Khalilur Rehman (assistant engineer), Mir Asif Jan (controller of accounts), Chaudhry Riaz Ahmad (administrator) and Col (r) Izharul Haq Adeeb (secretary institutions) were the founders of the NGO.
Sources said since the ETPB administration had been handling all its educational institutions’ affairs smoothly, there was no need to found the NGO, merge it into ETPB and give it control of educational institutions.
“In fact, it was an effort to plunder ETPB’s education budget and recruit staff to educational institutions using NGO’s name,” a source privy to the development said.
“Audit recommends that illegal registration of the NGO with the provincial government may be withdrawn forthwith and disciplinary action may be initiated against those responsible for registration of institutions of the government as an NGO under intimation to the audit,” read an observation of the audit team after the Ministry of National Harmony allowed merger of the NGO into the ETPB on Sept 20, 2011. Besides getting the NGO registered to govern the educational institutions, sources said, the ETPB administration got Janki Devi Hospital registered as an NGO.
“The registration of the hospital and foundation as NGOs is violation of the term ‘trust’. There is no order or permission by any authority to register these under the aforementioned act. It seems to be a malafide intention on part of Adeeb and his act comes under misconduct mentioned in the Removal from Services Ordinance 2000,” said a report of the ministry’s inspection committee.
Sources said the NGO still exists in the official record. “The matters relating to transfer, posting and recruitment to ETPB educational institutions are still being dealt with by the NGO, which has received education funds under ETPB’s budget grant under the aid head,” sources said.
Sources further said the incumbent ETPB vice-chairman, who was given the key post after his retirement last year, has the additional charge of the ETPB chairman. “Now he is preparing to get an important slot on a permanent basis,” he added.
ETPB spokesman Syed Aamir Hashmi said vice-chairman Chaudhry Riaz was looking after the chairman’s officer. “We are expecting appointment of a new chairman by the ministry soon,” he added.
Riaz said though legally he should have additional charge of the chairman’s office, the ministry had yet to issue a notification in this regard. He said since the NGO was legally registered and merged into the ETPB after approval of the law ministry, it had become part of the board. “Since it is now our part, it can legally continue its working in ETPB institutions,” he explained.
He dispelled the impression about plunder of ETPB funds and said the NGO was given a grant of Rs 50 million by the government.
“Now it is not using ETPB funds, as it is running ETPB institutions with its own resources,” Riaz added.

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