Elite dominance over resources

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) to expedite work on the approval of the Gun and Country Club Islamabad bill from Parliament in six months. A two-member Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan heard the Suo moto notice case regarding allotment of land, worth billions of rupees by CDA to the Gun and Country Club, Islamabad at a throwaway price. During the hearing of the case, a proposed bill relating to the management of the Gun and Country club was submitted in the court. The Minister of IPC’s lawyer Naeem Bukhari said a bill had been prepared to run the affairs of the club and it would be passed by the parliament in coming months. During the case hearing it appeared that despite having millions of rupees in its bank account, Club did not pay the utility bills, whereas Gun and Country Club maintained that CDA did not issue electricity bills to the Club but continuously asked for payment of property tax. The Secretary Ministry of IPC informed the bench that a forensic audit of the accused’s account had been conducted on which the Ministry had no objection. A shooting range was constructed by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination on the land of Pakistan Sports Board (a subdivision of the Ministry of IPC) for 9th SAF Games held in Pakistan during 2002. According to reports, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took Suo moto notice of the allotment of CDA land to Gun and Country Club in 2011. As said during the previous government a government representative had been administering the affairs of the Club. During the proceeding of the case, the Supreme Court ordered the Ministry of IPC to take over the charge of Gun and Country Club and appoint a managing committee to run its business. Currently, the PTI government has appointed a temporary managing committee of Gun and Country Club consisting Chairman CDA, Chairman PSB and few others to look after the affairs of the club. Clubs and Sports Complexes are always the assets of a nation because they promote healthy activities in the nation’s youths and prepare young men and women for nation’s representation at international level. State of the art shooting range was a national need which was established for South Asian Games back in 2002. In fact, the problem arises when Elite Class reserves such national facilities for its social activities instead of wide-ranging healthy games for the public.
To deny the common man entry into Elite’s specific circle, heavy membership fees are imposed which are usually exempted to the elite class, civilian and military bureaucrats etc. There are several other examples of such elite clubs which were constructed by taxpayer’s money but forbidden to the public such as Golf Courses in all major cities, Yachting Clubs and Marinas of Armed Forces in Karachi and several other institutional facilities across the country. There is a need that such facilities must be open for the nation’s youth particularly for young students of colleges and Universities and players, so talent can be discovered for better representation of the country at international level. However, any such facility must not be exempted from the tax or utilities bills on any ground. Hopefully, the issue of Gun and Country Club would be resolved amicably, and it would be used for healthy sport activities instead of Elite’s social gatherings.