Number of institutions are established and created at the federal and provincial levels from time to time. Such institutions are given and assigned specified and specialized tasks and responsibilities.

Such institutions so established and created enjoy priorities of the respective federal and provincial governments. But such priorities diminish with the passage of time as initial priorities are reduced and turned into lesser or no priorities. Institutions that start suffering from low or no priorities and due attention are seen withering away and going down the drain. Their decaying state quite obviously causes great disappointment and concern among of those working in such institutions . The federal and provincial governments, as the time passes, forget that such institutions also need due and proper attention for continuing working and delivering according to the assigned tasks and responsibilities. How can any institution continue working and functioning properly and efficiently when there is no priority, no attention and accountability at all.

One such national level institution which is apparently suffering from lack of due priority and attention on the part of the federal government is the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Islamabad.

PNCA was set up in 1973 to spearhead the development of arts in Pakistan to build a robust arts ecosystem by creating an environment conducive for the flourishing of the arts where the arts are accessible to everyone and the artists as well as the art groups have and enjoy commitment, financial support and resources and to excel at home and on the world stage also.

PNCA as per its assigned task as such is responsible as a one and only national institution of its kind for promotion of culture, art, music, film and theatre .

Following its creation, the PNCA was placed under control of the Ministry of Culture, then after some years to the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage and now under National History and Literary Heritage Division. Such shifting and change of administratively controlling ministry after every some years only indicated lack of due priority and attention of the federal government.

Incumbent Federal Education Minister, who hails from Lahore, holds additional charge of National History and Literary Heritage Division .According to the information available , he has not visited the National Art Gallery/PNCA once even all these months. This is a sad reflection on his lack of interest in the art and culture as such.

First National Exhibition was also held in 1973 immediately after its establishment. It was supposed to be an annual feature but unfortunately only 7 exhibitions were held in first 42 years .

The 9th Annual Exhibition was held only in December 2017 after lapse of some 14 years.

Presently search for the new Director General of PNCA is on after last Director Syed Jamal Shah has stepped down couple of weeks back. . National History and Literary Heritage Division had announced the vacancy first on PNCA website and then in the national newspapers. The advertisement was reportedly published in only couple of newspapers in a hush hush manner . As a matter of fact,it should have been published in all national Urdu and English dailies since PNCA is a national art and culture institution and the interested candidates could come from any corner of the country.

The advertisement itself made interesting reading as it did not mention pointedly that the candidates applying for PNCA top slot should have adequate knowledge about visual and performing arts besides academic qualifications and experiences.

It said that the appointment will be made on contract basis for two years but the selected candidate shall cease to hold the office of the PNCA Director General on attaining the age of 65 years while the maximum age limit for the prospective candidates was 63 years.

The prospective candidates through the vacancy advertisement were also required that he/she has not been convicted/declared by competent court of law/authority for any offence of moral turpitude/ un-discharged insolvent/insane or of unsound mind and has not been dismissed from any services of Pakistan.

According to the reports, a former Director of PNCA Visual Arts Division is in the race for PNCA top slot.

She is being backed, supported and patronized by about 77 years old Lahore-based relative of the Federal Minister as usual.

The aspiring candidate had a troubled career before she retired in 2016.

She was charge-sheeted in January 2014 on as many as 16 allegations involving major penalty of dismissal of service as she had failed to provide her educational degrees to PNCA despite passage of several years and for overstaying abroad and misguiding her organization on a number of occasions.

But she was not dismissed from service as she had managed to escape all this through her connections in higher echelons of power and continued in service enjoying all privileges and benefits till her retirement finally in 2016.

She is even debarred from applying for the top slot of PNCA as per the vacancy announcement provisions as such because she was only charge-sheeted and not dismissed from service consequently. However, the prevailing circumstances are in her favour as she is enjoying all the support from the official and other quarters concerned. Will she be given another chance to run and ruin the great national institutions as she had been doing while she was previously there is another big question ?

Besides her, there are other people working in the PNCA who are promoting themselves at the cost of the organization by supplying official documents containing lot of secret information to the outsiders.

Will the prime minister order an inquiry into PNCA affairs to ensure transparency, accountability and merit to which his government is committed and save the great national institution from going down the drain, please ?