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Aisha Bawany College reopens on SHC order

Aisha Bawany College reopens on SHC order

KARACHI: Fortune finally smiled on around 3,000 disturbed and worried students of the Aisha Bawany Government College, which was closed down by the Aisha Bawany Trust, when an authorised official of the Sindh High Court reopened the institution and handed over its possession to its principal on Thursday.

On the orders of a two-judge bench of the high court, SHC Nazir Karamdin Junejo along with Additional Advocate General Barrister Ghulam Mustafa Mahesar went to the college in the afternoon and reopened it after breaking its lock. The court official also pasted the court’s order on its gate.

Earlier before noon, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar ordered the immediate reopening of the college while hearing a fresh constitutional petition filed by the college principal and teachers against the closure of the college.

The bench ruled: “Under all circumstances, classes and the college must resume by today (Friday).”

The petitioner principal informed the judges that the futures of thousands of students, being educated at the college, were at stake due to the rift between Aisha Bawany Trust and the provincial government over the ownership of the land housing the college.

They also informed the court that the college had not been reopened despite earlier order of a single bench.

The petitioner said that the single bench had suspended the order of the lower court to seal the college and ordered its immediate reopening. Despite the passage of six days, they complained, the directive of higher judiciary had not been complied with.

The bench expressed grave annoyance over the non-compliance of the court’s order and appointed the Nazir, directing him to proceed immediately to the building and show a copy of the court’s order to the person who claimed to hold possession of the college.

It also directed the SHO of the police station and the SSP concerned to assist the Nazir in reopening the college and maintain law and order.

The police were further directed to take strict action against those who create hindrance to implementation of its orders.

“If necessary, the Nazir has full authority to break any lock and to take all such steps as he may deem appropriate to ensure opening of the college,” the bench ruled in its order.

The court ordered to put the college and the relevant portion of the building back in the possession of the provincial government only for the limited purposes of resuming the classes.

Hundreds of students of the college had 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.

Burns Garden construction stopped

The Sindh High Court on Thursday restrained the authorities concerned from carrying out alleged illegal construction in Burns Garden, one of the historical parks of the city.

A two-judge bench gave the directives while hearing a petition filed by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar on behalf of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation against the chief secretary, local government secretary, National Museum of Pakistan director general and culture, tourism and antiquities department director general for allegedly allowing the commercial use of Burns Garden.

The mayor told the judges that the park situated on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road was one of the historical parks in the city and had been under KMC’s administrative control since 1996 and from time to time it put in huge efforts and money for the conservation, beautification and development of the park for the benefit of the general public.

The petitioner submitted that the respondents in the past illegally attempted to raise construction of various projects in the name of commercialisation of Burns Garden and carry out private functions at such parks despite the fact that Supreme Court had ruled that an amenity park premises could not be used for any commercial purposes at all other than the recreation/convenience of the public.

He said that the respondents had started excavating substantial parts of the garden for laying concrete structures and buildings in an attempt to commercialise the park premises for a car parking project.

The court was informed by the mayor that the city administration had requested the provincial government to stop the construction in the first instance and produce authoritative documentary evidences duly supported with site plan of any piece of land in Burns Garden to justify their disputed occupation at the earliest, but to no avail. The construction was restarted after a temporary stoppage.

The KMC requested the court to restrain the respondents from constructing commercial units in the garden and declare the said action of provincial authorities as illegal, mala fide and unlawful.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2017

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