The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) has directed the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to hold an inquiry into the handing over of the H-9 College hostel building to the Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) during the previous government.
The direction was issued on an application submitted to CADD by the Federal Government College Teachers Association about three weeks back.
The association demanded that the hostel should be vacated from the government department so it could be used for the students again.
The application referred to a ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a human rights case in 2009 in which it had observed that the property of an educational institution fell in the category of amenity and it cannot be given to a party/institution or used for any other purpose except education.
The order was issued in a case against the conversion of the building of a college in Jhelum into the office of Rescue 1122.
The teacher association in its application to the secretary CADD claimed that the hostel building, with the capacity to accommodate over 200 students, had been in the occupation of ‘outsiders’ since 2001.
It said the students had protested the handing over of the hostel to the government department as they were compelled to seek shelter/lodging in private hostels in the city.
In addition, the students hailing from Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir and most particularly from remote areas of Balochistan were unable to pay heavy rent to the private hostels.
The secretary CADD was informed that the H-9 College had contributed to the educational growth in Kashmir and northern areas because majority of the students from these areas joined the college only because it had the facility of the hostel.
The application said the occupation of stores/shops in the building of the college stadium was another issue and an example how the order of the apex court was violated and the officers concerned worked against the interests of the students.
During the tenure of the previous government, the 16 stores/shops under the stadium were given to a private party.
“Even when the Capital Development Authority (CDA) took action and termed the occupation null and void, the powerful occupant supported by some officers in the education department did not vacate the stores and started using them for different purposes.”
These shops/stores, which could be used by the college, were going to become a minting-money machine for another party.
This is really a tragic situation and speaks volumes about the condition of the educational institution, the application added. An officer of CADD on the condition of anonymity said the application had been marked to the FDE for further action.
“The hostel was initially handed over to students from Balochistan in 2001 but during the tenure of the PPP government it was given to the PBM which has been using it for the orphans.
Providing space to the orphans was a good job but it should not have been done at the expense of the students from the far-flung areas of the country,” he said.
President FGCTA Prof Tahir Mahmood said a lot of concern prevailed among the students, their parents and teachers.
“They think it is continuation of the efforts to ultimately close the oldest institution which has been catering to the educational needs of a considerably large number of students, mostly from poor families and remote areas of Pakistan,” he added.
The association requested the secretary CADD to look into the matter, launch an inquiry, rehabilitate the college property as per orders of the Supreme Court,” he said.
When contacted, Joint Secretary CADD Rafique Tahir told Dawn that the FDE had been instructed to hold an inquiry into the matter and submit a report.
“The FDE has also been directed to provide details of the agreement under which the building was handed to the PBM.
He also said the H-9 College possessed seven acres of land and its management could have constructed another building during the last 13 years.
PBM Managing Director Barrister Abid Waheed Sheikh could not be contacted for comments. However, a senior official of the PBM, who was not allowed to speak on record, told Dawn that the building had been handed over to the PBM under an agreement.
“A huge amount was spent on the renovation of the building. Rooms, kitchens and a play area were also constructed for the children.
Had the PBM been told that the building would be returned, it would not have spent that much amount on it.” He said it was not possible to return the building.Dawn.