Poll plot: Press Club rejects reserved seat for women
Governing body faces wrath of members over election delay.
¬LAHORE: The Lahore Press Club turned down proposals for reserved seats for women in a stormy council meeting on Monday, as the governing body faced the wrath of members angry at a delay in elections.
A resolution for a dedicated women’s VP seat was presented before the LPC general council, which meets once a year, but some rowdy participants did not even let the mover read out the full text.
LPC President Sarmad Bashir announced that the resolution was ‘not carried’, then suggested that a seat on the 11-member governing body be reserved for women. Most of the participants shouted “No”. The proposal was rejected.
The general council also gave the governing body a tough time over the budget, with many members tearing up copies of the budget document and storming out of Nisar Usmani Hall. After most of them had left, the governing body had the annual budget approved by a smattering of remaining members.
The meeting was fiery from the start. The questioning began straight after recitation from the Holy Quran, with a participant asking the president how he could justify delaying the governing body election, which was supposed to be held each December.
Bashir urged the participants to wait until after the budget was presented for questions, but this prompted yelling and shouting in the hall for about two minutes. As things settled, Bashir said that the delay was necessary as the governing body awaited the Lahore High Court’s decision in the F Block case and because of pending grants from political leaders.
The F Block case relates to a housing scheme for journalists in Harbanspura in which members of the LPC get subsidised plots. Some members have moved the court against the current governing body’s decision to amend the original plan to replace park land with another block of plots.
Another member said that the president should have had the election delay approved by the governing body and then the general council, but he did not. Bashir said that the governing body had approved the delay and now the general council would endorse it.
Another participant stated that the general council had unanimously carried a resolution for elections by December. The president said the resolution was not binding.
Bashir again tried to present the budget, but the members demanded to know what progress had been made in ensuring the provision of residential plots to 295 new members of the LPC in F Block.
He said the next hearing of the case in the LHC was on March 8 and he expected a decision in their favour, as the Punjab government had already pledged to provide funds for the land.
The sceptical participants chanted various insults, including “fraud”, “cheater” and “lollypop”.
Bashir said if the members wanted, they could delay the elections further until after the hearing in the LHC. However, they approved the holding of elections on March 5.
The governing body presented a one-page budget document showing income and expenditure of Rs19,258,029. It also stated that the Press Club was due grants of Rs15,550,000 pledged by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, former chief minister Manzoor Wattoo, former federal law minister Babar Awan and the Punjab government.
The biggest expenditures in the budget were on the cafeteria and staff salaries, at Rs7,148,673 and Rs4,983,568, respectively. The major sources of income were from hosting events (Rs3,476,700), the cafeteria (Rs3,069,085), a federal government grant (Rs1,000,000), a Punjab government grant (Rs1,200,000) and billboard rent (Rs5,862,000).
Source: The Express Tribune