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Confusion ensues over reopening of Aisha Bawany College as students protest, Sindh CM intervenes

Confusion ensues over reopening of Aisha Bawany College as students protest, Sindh CM intervenes

Hundreds of students of Aisha Bawany Government College on Monday protested against the closure of the institution despite the court's orders on Saturday to resume classes in the college.

On Friday, the Aisha Bawany Trust had closed off the college building after obtaining an order from the local court. Subsequently, the college administration through the Sindh advocate general had moved against the trust’s action to seek a restraining order against the closure of one of the country’s oldest colleges.

The Sindh High Court, on Saturday, passed orders to reopen the Aisha Bawany Government College immediately, suspending the order of the subordinate court that had ordered its sealing.

On Monday morning, the students attempted to block Shahrah-e-Faisal but limited their protest to the college gate after intervention by police personnel. The protesting students held the provincial education department accountable for the delay in their studies.

Taking notice of the protest, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered that the college be reopened and the educational process be resumed with immediate effect. The CM's intervention came after Sindh Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar's statement, warning the management to open the college within half an hour, otherwise state machinery would take due measures to reopen the college.

Hours after the provincial government's intervention, however, the college remains closed.

Trust representatives present outside the college on Monday questioned the chief minister's right to intervene in the matter after the court's verdict "in their favour".

Earlier in the day, the provincial government submitted an application to the Sindh High Court, asking to dissolve the Aisha Bawany Trust.

The petition maintained that more than three acres of land was handed over to the trust in 1958 for educational purposes. Later in 1975, the college and the school were nationalised under Martial law regulations, the petition said, adding that the trust grabbed the land in 1984 illegally despite the fact that its lease period had already been expired.

The government asked that court dissolve the trust and allow the provincial government to run the institution.

On Sunday, the management of Begum Aisha Bawany Educational and Welfare Wakf held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, saying, “The college building was never sealed. What everyone saw was the police handing the school and college management the possession of the building on the orders of the Sindh High Court.”

Imdad Hussain Shah, the trust’s public relations officer, had said, “We are not the land mafia as we have been dubbed by the Directorate of Colleges. The Aisha Bawany Academy buildings were built for the purpose of education and they shall carry on imparting education.”

According to the trust's secretary, the institution built by the Bawany family in 1961 had for the past 56 years only concentrated on education and it was proud of its old students who had done very well in life after passing out from there.

“The Aisha Bawany Academy was nationalised in 1972 by the Bhutto government along with many other schools and colleges. Then another change took place in 1986 when the government decided to hand the schools back to their former private managements while keeping the colleges with them,” he had added.

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