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Another Election! Same Chaos!

Another year and another AGM! Yet there was one thing common and that was the election mayhem that Abdalians have gotten used to seeing at the Annual Reunion and AGM at Cadet College Hasanabdal. This is the second year, where elections were being held under the revised and controversial Memorandum and Articles of Association. This year saw the least participation as compared to the last six or seven years despite the fact that number of votes polled in this election was slightly more (85) than the 79 votes cast last year for the elections of the Secretary General.

Dr. Shoaib Shafi of 17th Entry was elected as the President against Engr. Jameel Malik of the 11 th Entry. The third candidate, Dr. Afaq Hussain withdrew his nomination in favour of Engr. Jameel Malik. The only visible entries this year were the 17th and the 18th Entries, which formed more than half of the votes cast. This year, it seemed, that Abdalians were not really interested in the elections and the AGM. The number was so low that the dua at the shuhada Monument was conducted at around 10:45am, which was originally scheduled for 10am. The whole programme thereafter got delayed as a consequence.

After the usual ceremonies of dua at the Shuhahda Monument and the wreath laying at Mr. Catchpol's grave, the old boys assembled in the Naeem Hall for the AGM. They welcomed the old teachers, who had come to attend this function as well, which included Mr. Jafri and Khateeb (Zahoor) Sahib, Mr. Khalid Amin, Mr Qadeer, Mr. Bukhari, Mr. Hasnain, Mr. Iftikhar, Mr. Misbah, Mr. Mahfooz ur Rahman and Syed Dilshad Hussain.

The AGM started with the recitation of the Holy Quran, after which the Principal, Mr. Asif Malik delivered his opening speech and briefed the gathering on the work done in CCH during the year. This was followed by a speech by Mr. Khalid Amin, who taught as Cadet College Hasanabdal for about eight years and left it in 1965 to join the civil service. Prof. Dilshad Hussain also spoke at length about his life and experience at Cadet College. Although, the AGM has to be presided by the Principal, being HOBA's patron-in-chief, Mr. Malik requested Prof. Dilshad Hussain to do the honours and preside the meeting. Prof. Dilshad, then distributed the souveniers to the old teachers. Mr. Asif Malik, then appointed Mr. Mahfooz and Mr. Misbah to oversee the election process and handed over the floor to them. By this time, it was getting quite late and the ladies and children who had accompanied the old boys were waiting for lunch to be served. The HOBA administration therefore decided that the election process should be held after lunch.

 

The lunch was served in the lawns between the education block and the staff room, rather than the Oval. The arena was very crowded and the regular fruit stall was no where to be seen. At around 3:15pm, an announcement was made by the office bearers, requesting the old boys to come back into Naeem Hall, so that the election process could be proceeded with. As soon as Mr. Mahfooz ur Rahman had announced the procedure and invited the candidates to come and introduce themselves, Syed Aqil Shah proposed to the house that the incumbent President should continue in office for another year. This created a rumpus in the house, and a large majority insisted that the election s process should continue.

Syed Aqil Shah, a one time HOBA President himself, in a very calm manner, told the house that a precedent already existed where despite the announcement of the elections schedule, the house voted for him to continue for one extra year. He further said that if Syed Ashfaq Hussain had performed so well, and as mentioned in the speech of the Secretary General, performed beyond peoples imagination, there was no reason that he should not continue for one more year. The Secretary Finance, Capt (R) Nayyar Islam, rejected the proposal on the grounds that the Memorandum & Articles of Association did not allow this and as a result the elections process will continue. On hearing this, Syed Aqil Shah and a lot of other Abdalians walked out from and hall giving the floor to Mr. Mahfooz who then invited the candidates to come and introduce themselves.

Dr. Afaq Hussain, was the first to come to the rostrum and announced that he was withdrawing his name as a candidate. Engr. Jameel Malik said that the elections process should continue and no extension can be granted. Prof. Shoaib Shafi, when asked to come and speak, expressed similar views, whereafter, the process of issuing ballot papers to the voters started. The Finance Secretary would call out the name of the "eligible" voter, who would then receive a ballot paper signed by the Secretary General and counter-signed by Mr. Mahfooz.

 

 

While the voting was talking place, a serious discrepancy was brought to the notice of one of the contesting candidate, Engr. Jameel Malik, who then went to the stage to confirm whether the discrepancy really existed. He then found out that although, the HOBA administration had declared this to be a secret ballot, in reality the ballot paper was serially numbered and the counterfoil which contained the voters name, kit number and CNIC also had the same number. He protested that in essence, this was not a secret ballot as the administration could know which person voted for which candidate. He then submitted a written complaint to the elections overseers and walked out of the hall, announcing that he would not accept the results of the elections irrespective of which candidate wins, as the fundamentals of the secret ballot had been violated.

Mr. Mahfooz ur Rahman announced that in order to address Engr. Jameel's complaint, the overseers shall deface the number on the ballot paper. Brig. Noor, an ex-Secretary General suggested that the corner containing the number should be ripped off. But at the end of the day, it was decided that defacing the number would be the best way to go. This resulted in a massive win for Prof. Shoaib Shafi who obtained 73 votes out of the 85 polled, whereas Engr. Jameel managed to secure 11 votes. Mr. Mahfooz ur Rahman, after the final count, declared Prof. Shoaib Shafi as the new president of Abdalians Association at around 5 pm in the presence of only a handful of Abdalians, as the rest had all left the College by then. Mr. Saleem Akram from the 14th Entry, even warned the administration to beware of a writ petition against the elections, coming their way.

The Accounts for the year ended 30-Jun-2010 presented by the Secretary Finance, Capt (R) Nayyar Islam, also did not give a very comforting picture. A surplus of Rs. 95,995 was reported as against Rs. 389,379 in the previous period, showing a decrease of 75%. Receipts towards scholarships were down 46%, actually showing a negative balance of Rs. 96,000 in the Scholarship Fund. Similarly, the Rehabilitation Fund showed a decrease of 132% and posted a negative balance of Rs. 33,000 in the Rehabilitation Fund. Rs. 9,000 were spent towards web hosting charges for the official web site, which contains very little content and appears to be novice work. Had it not been for a Rs. 500,000 contribution by Petarians Association, the year would have ended in a deficit of Rs.404,005.

The much announced cricket match, which was part of the programme was only attended by six young Abdalians, who played againt the College Team. The victory by the Old Boys, brought the days programme to an end.

Comments  

 
+1 #3 Shuja Hasan Khan 2011-04-07 17:30
I am an Abdalian who lives abroad. I have great memories of CCH. I have tremendous respect for all our teachers who were so dedicated. Thanks to this website, it was a pleasure to see them in the photos of the recent elections. Congratulations to Mr Asif Malik for becoming the Principal. May Allah take this institution to even greater heights. Congratulations also to Shoaib Shafi for being elected President of our Association. Hope this website will continue to keep us in touch with CCH and Abdalians. Regards Shuja Hasan Khan 17th Entry (1970 to 75)
 
 
#2 Tariq O. Rehman 2011-03-21 10:33
I agree Rashid Bhai, this is a serious matter of concern. HOBA should be a representative body of Abdalians. 200 people out of 6000+ is 3.33%. The number of actual voters (85) is 1.42%.
 
 
+1 #1 Rashid Aziz 2011-03-21 10:22
The true story on elections reveals itself in detailed account by TO on this true website. We had objected on the technique and methodolgy of elections much before the elections were held but seems nobody wants to adhere to rules. All three candidates were rejected by the scrutiny team set up before elections and on mere whims were asked to participate, so basically the base line of elections 2011 never existed. To be honest to all HOBA as of now does not have a legal President and they shall have to process the whole thing again for the memebers. Let us be clear also that HOBA does not have to do anything with Abdalians at large, see blog comments of Kamran Niaz which are so true. A group of less than 200 people registered and 74 voting in farse elections where does the moral ground exist for HOBA. It is essential for the Principal to look at this and arrange a get together for the Abdalians at large rather than calling for HOBA elections and AGM. Let HOBA choose place of their own choice and call their own members if at all they want to participate