KARACHI: After much controversy in the media regarding the alleged closure and sealing of Aisha Bawany College a day earlier, the management of Begum Aisha Bawany Educational and Welfare Wakf held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday to explain their side.
“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,” said Imdad Hussain Shah, the trust’s public relations officer. “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,” he said.
The trust’s secretary, Fareed Ahmed, said that after the handing over of the college to them it was no longer a government college but a private one. “We will educate the students already enrolled in the college, which by the way, are not 3,000 as was said by the Directorate of Colleges, but 1,050, on whatever fee they had been admitted by the government administration after being shown proof of their admissions but what we absolutely refuse to do is also keep the government staff. We have our own staff to handle the administration and teaching there,” he said.
Providing some background, the secretary said that 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 said.
“The Aisha Bawany Educational and Welfare Wakf has been in litigation with the government for its college since 2005. In 2011, the decision came in the trust’s favour. It was challenged but each time the decision was in our favour. Now the Sindh High Court has handed over the possession to us,” he said. “The government is free to move its college functioning in our premises to any place of its choice. If they can’t do that, we will take on their students as our own but not their staff,” he repeated his stance.
Shabbir Ahmed Sheikh, the management’s legal adviser, also explained that on Aug 28, Justice Fahim Siddiqui had dismissed the government’s plea of letting the college function as a government institution. “And then it was handed back to us on Sept 15,” he said.
Answering a question from the media regarding their renting out the Academy playgrounds for wedding ceremonies, the PRO said that they only organised school functions there or wedding ceremonies of family members of the school staff.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2017