The Garam Chashma Area Development Organization (GADO) recently held its annual general meeting (annual session) when the existing board of directors was to retire after completing its three-year tenure.
GADO was established in 1996 with the financial support of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). It is one of many LSOs (local support organizations) established in Chitral.
Also read: GADO battling for its survival
The main objectives behind the establishment of GADO was to ensure participatory development in all sectors, women empowerment besides raising life standard of the target population, a utopian idea, which AKRSP itself has never realized in its journey towards development in Chitral.
The AGM was attended by representatives of AKRSP and the chairman of Chitral Communities Development Network (CCDN), an umbrella organization of LSOs.
Ironically, before the scheduled date of AGM, an unwanted situation occurred with the organization, sources told ChitralToday. Some confidential documents of the organization were made viral on the social media allegedly by one of the contestants for the BOD. As a result, both parties approached the local arbitration board to settle the issue, and reconciliation was concluded between the parties.
But the organization failed to assert its integrity by ascertaining who actually were behind the leakage of the audit report without the prior permission of the board or its chairman.
It was also intriguing why the person who shared the audit report on the social media was allowed to contest for the directorship of the organization.
According to norms, a person who breaches the rules of the organization is never allowed to be a part of that organization in any capacity.
This is also acknowledged that the byelaws formed by the AKRSP for these LSOs have many loopholes and gaps and are framed in haste without reflecting the ground realities of the types of the community based organizations, clusters and their structures. The byelaws are silent about their role in the AGM.
Not a single mention is made in the byelaws regarding the above mentioned entities and their crucial role in the AGM. Their power extends from approval of the annual budget and audit reports, election or selection of directors and any other agenda put up by the board for consideration. This implies that all these matters come up and approved in the AGM are illegal and reflect incompetency on the part of AKRSP as the poor LSOs are just a puppet in its hands.
Again, after the election of directors in the AGM, a contestant bargained at cluster level and produced a resolution of the same members who in the AGM had cast their votes against him in a majority. What a mobilization by the AKRSP and its offshoot? This is nothing but a slap on the face of law and norms, because any decision made in the AGM is amended/changed only through another AGM or a verdict of the court. This illegal practice has opened a new Pandora box whereas any de facto director will be relieved of his duty by a similar resolution at the cluster level. This practice can also be used for score settling with the poor board members.
This is a test case for the AKRSP and CCDN, as the so called custodians of these LSOs in Chitral and GB, as to what extent they promote rule of law in these organizations?