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RAWALPINDI: Owners of private schools in the cantonment areas on Wednesday staged a protest against the cantonment boards on Wednesday after they were issued notices to move their schools from residential areas.

The protesters warned they will stage a demonstration in front of parliament on May 9 if their demand is not accepted.

More than 100 school owners and teachers gathered outside the Rawalpindi Press Club led by Joint Action Committee of All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges convenor Chaudhry Nasir Mehmood and Abrar Ahmed Khan.

They carried placards inscribed with slogans urging the chief justice to take notice of the closure of private schools in the cantonment areas.

Speakers said that for private school representatives had been protesting on the roads for the last three months but no action had been taken to save their institutions.

They alleged that cantonment authorities wanted to move out the private schools in order to increase enrolment in their own schools, which they said provide poor quality education. They also alleged that the Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards have increased the fee in their schools after issuing notices to private schools.

“More than three million children in the 43 cantonment areas across the country will suffer if private schools closed down but the cantonment boards have turned a blind eye to the issue of the common man,” Mr Abrar said.

He said the Constitution makes the state responsible for giving education and health facilities to children which the government is failing to do so and that is also stopping the private sector from providing quality education.

Private schools are paying their taxes to the cantonment authorities and so they have no right to close the schools down, he added.

Mr Abrar said the cantonment authorities have not held any meetings with parents and school owners before making the decision. He said the traffic mess was not created by the private schools, which are in fact serving people at their door steps.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018