Qindeel Jafery Fights Against Corruption in Arts Council Karachi
Cornwall, January 15, 2019 – Arts Council Karachi is for the progress of artists but it is not possible when some opportunists gain control over prestigious positions in society and use them for their own selfish gain.
“The Arts Council Karachi has become a business. A single person has the sole control for the past ten years, Ahmed Shah,” says Qindeel.
The Arts Council Karachi was established in 1954 for the betterment of all types of artists in Karachi. It emphasizes on delivering instead of politricks. In the past, the artists were scrutinized through criteria for its membership. Many big names obliged their services to the council and were on its board as well. But 2008 was a crucial year when some opportunity seekers managed to win the election. Since then the opportunists had to win the elections every year to continue their monetary greed. After having gained the majority, they further changed the constitution such that the President, namely Ahmed Shah, will have full rights to sell Arts Council’s property at any time to anyone.
Qindeel was a candidate for the Member Governing Body of the Arts Council Karachi on the platform of Art Forum Panel. She is from a family of artists who has spent the last 25 years as an active artist.
Qindeel was assaulted during this election. Microphone was snatched from her and she was pushed away. Immediately, she withdrew from the election, launched FIR and made a request for a neutral administrator to be hired to conduct the election in a democratic manner. Meantime, The Art Forum Panel and the Independent candidates have boycotted the Arts Council.
The worst is Pakistan’s former biggest political party, Peoples Party, scratches Ahmed Shah’s back in return for monetary favours for friends and family. Most of the Council members have nothing to do with art. Mr. Shah has put his personal servants on the members’ list, in addition, he refuses to produce the list. This has turned the Arts Council into a Mafia operation.
The opposition knocked on every door to fight against this ongoing corruption without any success. Their last effort has landed them in the Sindh High Court where the appeal is also made to cancel the elections won dishonestly in the light of the Court’s prior decision that the elections are to be verified if the members’ list is orderly confirmed with their relations to art. However, Ahmed Shah didn’t care about the court’s decision and still went ahead with a secret list of members, many of whom have nothing to do with Art.
Democracy demands an immediate end to this corruption and increase in the transparency of the system.
by Shoaib Sadiq & Dr. Monika Spolia