Nefarious designs against Pakistan Girl Guides Association?

PGGA appeals to the Prime Minister against “arbitrary, unreasonable and excessive” demands of Municipal Corporation, Rawalpindi.

Pakistan Girls Guide Association (PGGA), one of Pakistan’s most prestigious organizations catering to the growth and grooming of young girls and women, faces gradual extinction at the hands of nefarious designs.

According to reports of Baaghi TV, the national organization was started under the leadership of the Father of the Nation, Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam) and his sister, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah in December 1947. It is protected under Ordinance No. XLIV of 1960, by the Government of Pakistan, and is established all over the country. PGGA works at national as well as provincial levels and is funded by the Government of Pakistan with regular auditing.

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PGGA, one of Pakistan’s most prestigious organizations catering to the growth and grooming of young girls and women, faces gradual extinction at the hands of nefarious designs.

Sanniah Hassan Editor, Baaghi TV

However, PGGA is currently fighting its most significant battle against being slowly uprooted by individuals with ulterior motives. Baaghi TV has learnt that there is an attempt to displace the organization offices by shifting them to less seemly locations. Our correspondent has discovered that PGGA management is being coerced into leaving their current offices for areas less seemly. Reaching out to Ms. Maria Maud, who has been associated with PGGA Rawalpindi for a long time, we learnt that while the Government of Pakistan talks about empowering women and the progress of society they are failing to execute those thoughts. PGGA which strives to provide young girls and women with a safe space to exercise their rights and potential is one such example, where Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is failing to provide support for the rights of their female citizens.

Ms. Maud informed Baaghi TV that the PGGA administration has been battling against individuals working to dismantle this honorable organization catering to the growth and strengths of women, for nearly two years. Baaghi TV has learnt that the matter was taken to court, and a suo moto notice was issued to stop the unjust efforts, which resulted in a momentary delay. However, the perpetrators have taken up their designs once more.

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Dr. Saira Mufti, Regional Guide Commissioner Rawalpindi, has stressed that the Pakistan Girl Guides Association is a “national guiding organization” which aims to offer “a dynamic training program to girls and young women to develop their fullest potential  as responsible citizens, enabling them to perform  their duties successfully in their  home as well as for their community and the country”. Along those lines, the PGGA had organized a seminar to raise awareness pertaining to gender based violence against women at the Rawalpindi Guide House on 8th December, 2020. President of Pakistan Girl Guides Association, Mrs. Parveen Sarwar was supposed to attend in the capacity as Chief Guest for the event, respectively.

Pakistan Girl Guides Association offers a dynamic training program to girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens, enabling them to perform their duties successfully in their home as well as for their community and the country.

Dr. Saira Mufti Regional Guide Commissioner, Rawalpindi

There are a total of seven chapters of PGGA in Pakistan namely: ICT, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, KPK, AJK, and Gilgit-Baltistan. The Association aims to develop the character of young girls between the ages of six to twenty-one. It offers various programs to young women through its Youth Forum. The PGGA has for decades helped Girl Guides in becoming “responsible citizens, leaders in their sphere as witnessed by innumerable teachers, parents and people who come in contact with them”.

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Moreover, the Guide Houses serve the purpose of providing a safe space for girls as they interact with others and learn new skills, prepare for campaigns for social betterment while enjoying camping and develop their personalities in the process. It is pertinent to note that the PGGA Guide Houses are often the only safe havens for these young girls mostly belonging to government schools who have no other source of attaining such privileges.

Ms. Maud in conversation with Baaghi TV added that in a country like Pakistan where such facilities are few and far between, PGGA Guide Houses are like a breath of fresh air or an oasis in the desert.

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In addition to this, although the PGGA has 1,26,080 members as per 2019 statistics only 134 men and women from their staff is actually paid while the rest serve as volunteers. They do not receive any recognition or emoluments for their work yet the enthusiasm and zeal of their work does not falter. Girl Guides since the PGGA’s inception in 1947, have always provided their services during national emergencies, wars and disasters, and even during social campaigns. Their desire to do something has always shown through as they have lived up to the motto of “Be Prepared”.

No matter the situation Girl Guides are always at the forefront raising awareness and providing a helping hand in the face of disasters for instance educating about dengue, breast cancer or even the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, it would be unjust to deprive these girls of the opportunity to grow and develop in a healthy environment with character building exercise. It is important to note that this falls under the duties of State to provide and to encourage such activities under the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Guide Houses serve the purpose of providing a safe space for girls as they interact with others and learn new skills, prepare for campaigns for social betterment while enjoying camping and develop their personalities in the process.

Report Baaghi TV

According to reports of Baaghi TV, the matter of land dispute between PGGA and the Municipal Corporation concerning the Asghar Mall, Rawalpindi office of the PGGA, may be recent. None the less, it is a matter of public record that the Municipal Committee of Rawalpindi had approved the lease of 24 kanals, on the 15th of May, 1957 for the purpose of constructing PGGA’s Girl Guides House. Meanwhile, a rent of Rs. 10 per year was prescribed by the Executive Officer.

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A Vide order was passed on 19th November, 2018 in Human Rights Case No.52827-P/2018 which specifically stated that “The land which is being leased to PGGA shall not be taken over by any department or entity for any reason or under any circumstances nor the lease in perpetuity be rescinded or revoked by any means or on any ground whatsoever except by the express order of permission of this Court.”

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In addition to this it was stated:

“The above order has been passed because the property is being and should continue to be used for the noble causes which constitute the objects of PGGA and involves the welfare of young girls or schools and college going age who are provided a platform for healthy extra-curricular activities in an organized manner which is a laudable public purpose. It is one of the duties of the State to promote and encourage such activities under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. Neither the Additional Advocate General nor the Deputy Attorney General or duly authorized officers of the relevant departments have objected to this order or any part thereof which has been dictated in open Court in their presence. We also direct that no interference for any reason or of any nature in the land or possession thereof of PGGA shall be made by any authority, entity, department or private party shall be made in Pakistan without express prior permission of this Court.”

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No matter the situation Girl Guides are always at the forefront raising awareness and providing a helping hand in the face of disasters.

Report Baaghi TV

In addition to this, in pursuance of Court orders, the Metropolitan Corporation Rawalpindi and the PGGA executed a Lease Deed on 17th May, 2019 with respect to the original allotment for a period of 99 years and another deed on the 7th of February, 2020 with respect to excess land for a period of 99 years from 19th July, 1957. Lease deeds dated 19th July, 2019 and 7th February, 2020 were registered with facilitation from the office of the Divisional Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpindi, who is fully aware of the nature of work carried out by the Pakistan Girl Guides.

It is pertinent to note that Clause 2 of the aforementioned Lease Deeds, PGGA is subject to paying annual rent of original allotment as Rs. 10/- per year, subject to a 10% annual increase. This brings the total payable amount by the PGGA to Rs. 20 per year for the property situated at Asghar Mall.

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According to reports of Baaghi TV, the Municipal Corporation has intimated that the District Price Committee, Rawalpindi has assessed the monthly rent as Rs. 4,15,000/- and issued Challan no. 423074, demanding payment of the total amount. Moreover, the Municipal Corporation demanded payment of a total amount of Rs. 12,65,750/- as rent for the period July 2020 to September 2020.

Based on the notification, the Municipal Corporation, Rawalpindi stressed that rent amount of 4,15,000/- be transferred immediately with effect from August, 2020. The notice further stated that in the likelihood of failing to pay the designated amount, PGGA must vacate the premises and “handover property possession” to Municipal Corporation, Rawalpindi.

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PM Khan should consider the charitable nature of the PGGA and the fact that it serves as a non-profit organization dependent on government funding.

Mrs. Tazeen Fazal Punjab Chapter, PGGA

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The legal notice also stated that PGGA must pay the amount within 7 days of receiving otherwise the Municipal Corporation would have to “take action as provided in the Punjab Local Govt. (Property) Rules 2018”.

Baaghi TV’s correspondent has reached out to PGGA’s Punjab chapter administration and has learnt from Mrs. Tazeen Fazal that PGGA in response to the notice has appealed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to consider the future prospects of Girl Guides across Pakistan. It is pertinent to note that PGGA has urged PM Khan to consider the notice and challan dated 1st November, 2020 as “arbitrary, unreasonable and excessive”.

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Moreover, Mrs. Fazal stressed that PM Khan should consider the charitable nature of the PGGA and the fact that it serves as a non-profit organization dependent on government funding. According to Baaghi TV’s reports, PGGA has mentioned in the appeal that they function with a total budget allocation of Rs. 17 million for its six Punjab chapters. Thereby, the unjust demand of the Municipal Corporation per the assessed rent calculation is unreasonable and amounts to an approximate 50,000,000% increase in original rent assessment.

The fact cannot be ignored that such a tantamount increase in rent amount, is nothing short of abuse of power, by the Government department.

Sanniah Hassan Editor, Baaghi TV

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The fact cannot be ignored that such a tantamount increase in rent amount, is nothing short of abuse of power, by the Government department, especially considering the demand for a non-profit national organization to pay Rs. 4,15,000/- per month for the land in question.

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