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February 28, 2020

SHC orders transfer of all YMCA’s Karachi wing assets, affairs to parent body

Karachi

February 28, 2020

The Sindh High Court has directed the Nazir of the court to handover all accounts, books, assets and responsibilities of the Young Men’s Christian Association’s (YMCA) Karachi wing to its parent body, the YMCA Asia, following an anti-corruption inquiry report which said two rival groups, namely the YMCA Karachi and the YMCA Company, of the global organisation were involved in corrupt practices and found to have acted against the interest of the association.

The order came on petitions filed by private individuals for granting of injunctions in their favour to run the management and other affairs of the YMCA.

The SHC’s division bench, comprising Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan, observed that properties of the YMCA had been leased out about a century ago in the name of Pakistani arm of the international YMCA operating globally and the letter’s operations were running as per usual business for a long time.

The court observed that the creation of the YMCA Karachi under a confusingly and deceptively similar name under the Ordinance of 1961 crated a lever to illegitimately interfere with and scoop out the assets and properties of this international association that the YMCA society had become defunct upon promulgation of the Ordinance.

The court said it seemed that all efforts to hold elections of the YMCA society since 2002 had failed miserably and the Nazir of the court had been holding the charge of the affairs of YMCA for over 15 years had tried to hold elections twice; however, he clearly failed in arresting the misuse and usurpation of the society’s land for private material gains which blatant illegality was only arrested upon the intervention of the SC.

The court observed that the piece of land leased out to an international association to run its globally harmonised operations in Pakistan for the last many years had resulted into no public good except some unscrupulous elements filling their pockets.

The court observed that this valuable piece of land in the centre of the city had not been put to any good use for the youth of Karachi which was not neither the intent of the lessor nor the lessee.

The court observed that courts had spent countless man-hours to solve these disputes and the matter had taken turn around many times but on the ground the situation it had gone towards the worst from bad.

The court observed that the situation could not be restored on a proper track until the real and bonafide members who had wisdom and skills to run this arm of an international outfit were allowed to take over the administration of the YMCA society in the prime interest of the local young Christians for whom this body was formed in 2013 and to use the lands for the welfare of people.

The court observed that it would be just and proper to give some time to the parent organisation to come forward practically through carefully chosen individuals, take over day-to-day operations of the YMCA assets in Karachi and run it as per the best practices. The court observed that an allowance of tenure of three years to the YMCA Asia to directly manage the administration and affairs of the YMCA in Karachi would yield long awaited results.

The court directed the Nazir of the court to hand over all accounts, books, assets and responsibilities to the YMCA Asia upon the latter having nominated representative individuals to him for the purposes without intervention of any party, including the petitioner the YMCA Karachi and the YMCA Company, as it was a matter of record before the court that these rival groups of the YMCA had been involved in corrupt practices and found to have acted against the interest of the YMCA at large.

The court observed that the parent body, the YMCA Asia, shall ensure that the land leased out to foster the YMCA global roles would not be altered and would remain a sacred trust ensuring that it provided the same quality and standard of services to citizens of Pakistan which it had been rendering since 1913 around the globe.

Regarding the use of the YMCA trademark, the court directed the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the director of the Social Welfare Department to take immediate action as per the law to call upon these entities to stop using the YMCA trademark and order these entities to change their names to the extent that new names did not cause any confusion and deception with the YMCA.

The ordered that till the time it happened, these two entities, namely the Karachi YMCA and the YMCA Company, were not permitted to operate with the existing names. Advocates Amir Aziz Khan and Ishrat Ghazali represented the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCA.