Influential eyes PYHA property

ISLAMABAD Pakistan Youth Hostel Association top officials are threatened with possible grab of Pakistan Youth Hostel properties from unscrupulous persons, across the country. This view was taken at the PYHA Executive Committee meeting that met here with Prof Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, PYHA President and also the President of the International Islamic University in chair. The meeting reviewed the information that the brother of a Provincial Minister had applied that PYHA land at Batakundi, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa be given to him on lease. The Batakundi youth hostel was wrecked in the earthquake and flood of 2005, and has not been re-erected since then. The boundary wall and pillars of PYHA land at Lake Saiful Muluk has been removed by some Wildlife officials on the pretext that the PYHA land falls under the Wildlife area, although it is not the case, as certified by senior Forest Department officials. Faced with this situation, the Executive Committee meeting decided to erect boundary walls around all PYHA property, and also erect a signboard proclaiming them as PYHAS property. The Executive Committee also decided to build tent villages at Ayubia (Khanaspur) Bhurban, Patriata and Sharan youth hostels to increase the coverage of youth tourism by students. Making tents villages was preferred over extension of facilities in present buildings because it presents insurmountable difficulty in approval of architect plans. Take the case of the Katas youth hostel where a request for extension has been waiting with the Archeology Department since 2006. PYHA plan to build a modern youth hostel building in Green Acre area, Lahore has met with the same fate since the last two years. The organisation has youth hostels at Abbottabad, Ayubia (Khasanpur), Gilgit, Jamshoro (Hyderabad), Karachi, Moenjadaro (Larkana), Katas, Naran, Peshawar, Taxila and Quetta. PYHA became successor of the Indian Youth Hostels Association in 1947, after the establishment of Pakistan. Until 1951 it was an attached department of the Punjab Education Department. In 1951 it sought affiliation from International Youth Hostel Federation, based in London, as new Member from Pakistan but was told that an attached government Department could not be admitted to the world organisation. That led to the establishment of PYHA Trust. It built the first youth hostel at Taxila to help students find accommodation when they toured the ancient Buddhist ruins.

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