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Abdalian Elections and Reunion 2013

The Annual General Meeting and Annual Reunion of Hasanabdal Old Boy's Association was held at Cadet College Hasanabdal on Sunday, 17th February 2013. This year saw the least attendance of Old Boy's in the last fifteen years, as the best estimates said that the count was less than 100 people. This year we did not witness the usual mayhem which had become a hallmark of Abdalian AGM's for about 10 years. Usually, the "mayhem" would be started by younger Abdalians who protested against the elections procedures and the outcomes of the elections. This perception had developed due to the fact that the same people or "group" would be elected as office bearers of the Association, making it almost impossible for younger Abdalians to be part of the Alumni Association.

Interestingly, this year, it were the office bearers of the Association who stood up and opened the debate about the wrongs done by the Board of Governors of Cadet College. The visiting Old Boy's started to get a feeling of some kind of Track-2 diplomacy activity being conducted in the Registration Area in front of Ayub Block (Education Block) even before the regular proceedings of the day could start. This later turned out to be a meeting of the office bearers of the Association with the new Principal, Maj. Gen. Najeeb Tariq, who has very recently joined the College. Although it is not known what was discussed in the meeting with the Principal, the office bearers were not very happy with the Principal's decision to charge Rs. 300 per head for lunch and disallowing any election activity within the premises of the College.

The days proceeding started with the dua at the Shuhahda Monument much later than the scheduled time due the prolonged meeting of the office bearers with the Principal. The Principal, Maj. Gen. Najeeb Tariq and President of Old Boy's, Dr. Shoaib Shafi laid wreaths at the monument and later walked to Mr. Hugh Catchpole's grave to to pay homage. Everyone later assembled in Naeem Hall for the AGM and elections. The Principal in his opening address, welcomed the Old Boy's but very firmly informed the house that from next year the Old Boy's Association shall not be allowed to hold its AGM and elections within the premises of Cadet College Hasanabdal. He also informed the gathering that from next year the Old Boy's shall be expected to pay a nominal amount for lunch arrangements made by the College for the alumni. Earlier on the Principal apprised the gathering that the annual operating budget of the College was only a meager Rs. 200 million per year. The Government of Punjab only contributes around 21% of the annual budget as grant to the College, while 50% of the budget is comes in from fees charged to students. This still leaves around 30% required inflows which are met through interest income of a Rs. 22 million Endowment Fund and other miscellaneous heads like, sale of prospectuses etc.

The Principal was quite candid in his address and touched upon areas like infrastructure which was fast decaying, as no professional maintenance work had been undertaken for a long period of time. He quoted as an example, of evacuation of cadets from two dormitories in Omar Wing during heavy rains a few weeks back. He further said that Naeem Hall itself was in a terrible condition as the tin-roof had started to leak during recent rains. The College hospital, he said, was in a deplorable condition and needed urgent attention in terms of building repairs and equipment. It was quite alarming for the audience to hear from him that the Hobbies Clubs had been shut down by the Administration and the absence of motivation within the faculty, which had been completely overlooked in the past.

Dr. Shoaib Shafi in his address tried to persuade the Principal not to impose the prohibition on the Old Boy's elections. He also tried to convey to him that he was being misled by the Board of Governors in strengthening his perceptions about the division between the ex-Abdalians. Similar comments were made by Syed Ashfaq Hussain, Egnr. Sikander Khattak and Capt. (Retd) Nayyar Islam. The Principal at all times kept his cool despite the emotional comments from Abdalians and firmly stood on his stance of "no politics in College". He repeatedly told the House, that he was looking forward to the cooperation and support of Abdalians and had not imposed any restrictions on holding the annual reunions, except that he shall not allow any politics in the shape of elections within the premises.

This activity and debate took almost 95% of the time scheduled for the AGM. The President, Dr. Shoaib Shafi  and Secretary General, Dr. Faisal Manzoor later informed the House that only one nomination paper had been filed for the position of the President and a similar number for the position of the Secretary General. The House could only be informed about the name of the unopposed new President, Syed Ashfaq Hussain. The name of the Secretary General was not announced. Later Secretary Finance, Capt. (Retd) Nayyar Islam presented the minutes of the last AGM and very briefly announced some figures relating to the Accounts that were supposed to be passed by the House. Normally copies of audited financial statements are presented to the House, before the Accounts are formally passed, giving due opportunity to any member to table a question, but no such procedure was followed this year as well.

The Old Boy's were later invited for lunch in Khatlani Hall and the day ended with a basketball match which the Old Boy's obviously won with a massive margin.


Ghazfar Khokhar with the 2nd Best Sportsman of the Year