RAWALPINDI: The Ministry of Defence on Monday cancelled the lease of property for 15 private schools in residential areas in Westridge and asked them to move to other locations.
The Senate Standing Committee on Defence took up the issue of private schools in residential areas in the cantonment areas along Peshawar Road and in Westridge on Feb 8, 2017 on the complaint of former Awami National Party Senator Zahid Khan.
The committee had asked the defence ministry to move 32 private schools from residential areas in the cantonment to other locations as they cause traffic congestions and gave it three months to do so.
However, the ministry has taken action now, almost a year later, and cancelled the leases of 15 private schools in the cantonment areas and asked the Military Estate Office (MEO) to start implementation while issuing notice to the owners of private schools.
A senior MEO official told Dawn that the list has been provided to the civic body on Monday and it has been recommended to take action.
He said notices will be issued to school owners on Jan 16.
“The lease of these properties were granted for residential purposes but they are being used for commercial purposes which is creating problems for neighbouring residents,” he said, adding that commercial areas have been defined in the cantonment areas but private schools did not want to rent there to save money.
The MEO official added that all schools and other educational institutions are located on Peshawar Road and in Westridge which creates a traffic mess on the main roads.
When asked for a comment, Private Schools and Colleges Owners Association President Malik Ibrar said the government has not been able to establish public schools in most cantonment areas.
He said the traffic mess was not due to the schools but because of bad traffic management and that the number of students in private schools has increased over the last decade due to quality education.
“Private school owners asked the civic bodies and the government to provide them land for the establishment of schools in specific areas which they did not do and are now cancelling property leases,” he said.
The schools for which leases were cancelled are City School property No. 144, Beacon House School property No. 11, Dar-e-Arqam School 86, Oriental Grammar School 116, Global Educational Academy 118-a, Radley Elementary school 122, National Officers Academy 148, Al-Khair University and South Asian Institute 129, Westridge Laboratory 129, International Islamic University/School 91, Bahria Foundation College 99, SLS School 1, Fauji Foundation School 24-A, Dar-e-Arqam School 1 and Amrosr Hall School 12.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018