by Gohar Abbas
Islamabad, May 18: Annual General Body meeting and oath-taking ceremony of the first elected office-bearers of Gojal Educational and Cultural Association (GECA) was held at the Open Air Theatre in Lok Virsa on May 17.
The outgoing chairman of the Association administered oath of office to the office-bearers. Karim Khan, veteran politician and social figure of Gojal valley, was chief guest of the ceremony that was attended by a large number of community members, notables, women and children besides students and youth of Gojal living in the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Azad Kashmir and other surrounding districts.
According to the Election Committee seasoned journlist and social activist Farman Ali was elected, unopposed, Chairman of the association. Also elected unopposed were Tayib Jan, vice-chairman – Education, Waheed Murad, vice chairman – Culture, Safdar Ali general secretary and Sher Karim, finance secretary.
Rest of the cabinet members include Abdus Samad, Senior Joint Secretary, Bakhtullah, Joint Secretar, Neelum Nigar, Secretary (Education), Aslam Pervez, Secretary (Culture), Aslam Khan Ghalib Secretary (Media &Information), Sher Khan, Incharge Office Record and Database, Hidayat Shah, Incharge IT and Website, Nawab Ali Khan, Incharge AJK Unit, Manzoor Karim, Incharge Abbottabad/Mansehra Unit, Nisar Ahmed, Incharge Lahore Unit and, finally, Zulfiqar Ahmed, Incharge Peshawar unit.
Four committees, namely Culture, Sports, Finance and Advisory, were also constituted.
Speaking on the occasion the outgoing chairman, Major (retd) Ijaz Ahmed said that he had strong faith in the new cabinet and hoped that they would put in every effort for preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage and social values of Gojal valley.
Other speakers said that the association was aimed at serving the community members, especially the students and youth streaming down to the urban centres of the country from Gojal by providing them guidance and assistance in educational and career pursuits.
The GECA will primarily work for the preservation and promotion of the rich and unique cultural heritage, language, folklore, art and craft of the people living in Gojal, Ishkoman, Broghil and other areas having larger concentration of Wakhi speaking people. The speakers expressed concern at alienation of the young generation from their cultural roots and values.
The increasing commercialization, media onslaught has endangered this prestine culture. Wakhi has been listed, in the red book of UNESCO as one of the endangered languages.
The speakers also pledged to work for creating harmony among various communities living in the region.
The speakers urged the newly appointed cabinet to take extra ordinary efforts to preserve the unique culture of the region and play its role in saving the tourism industry of the region, which has been hit hard by the ongoing political turmoil, terrorism and growing militancy in the country.
The speakers vowed to support the newly elected cabinet and urged them to fulfil the hopes that the region has pinned on them. The speakers also called for gender balance, promotion of liberal values and creating a conducive environment for women to take part in developmental and intellectual activities. They said despite achieving high literacy rate the male chauvinism and gender bias still exist in our society that needs to be eliminated.
Farman Ali, the newly elected chairman, thanked the members for posing confidence in the new cabinet and pledged to work for betterment of the community members by delievering according to their expectations.
He announced to make efforts for getting a plot in the Education City, located at H-17 Sector, for establishing a building complex comprising office of the association, a hostel and other facilities under one roof besides establishing a girl’s hostel in Rawalpindi to provide accommodation facility to the girl students of the region.