Protest against proposed privatisation of Gordon College leaves traffic haywire in Pindi

Published December 11, 2022
Students block Murree Road in Rawalpindi on Saturday against the proposed privatisation of Government Gordon College. — Online
Students block Murree Road in Rawalpindi on Saturday against the proposed privatisation of Government Gordon College. — Online

RAWALPINDI: Students and teachers of Gordon College on Saturday held a demonstration against the proposed privatisation of the government college and vowed to resist efforts to hand over the control of the educational institution to a Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.

Due to the protest of the students and teachers on Murree Road which lasted for three hours, the worst traffic jam was witnessed in and around Raja Bazaar. The traffic police failed to manage traffic as the protesters refused to lift the blockade till acceptance of their demands.

It may be mentioned here that the college was nationalised in 1974 and since the 1980s, at least two church organisations based in Sialkot and Lahore were trying to get back the control of the college. Though the case was pending in Supreme Court, the Punjab government purportedly assured the church that the college would be handed over to it.

Protesters change name of college to ‘Govt Mohammedan College’

Meanwhile, the students and the faculty of one of the oldest educational institutions in Rawalpindi “unanimously” announced to change the name of the college to ‘Government Mohammedan College’. They said a board bearing the “new name” would be installed outside the building on Monday.

They also demanded the suspension of the director of colleges, college principal, and vice principal and said there would be no negotiations with the administration till their demands were met. They also announced staging another protest on Monday and warned the administration to stay away from the issue.

The protesters also held a meeting with the administration officials, Director Colleges Prof Sher Ahmed Satti, College Principal Dr Idris, Vice Principal Dr Nafees and others. They claimed that the role of the Directorate of Colleges in the court case regarding the privatisation of the college was “inappropriate and dubious”.

They demanded that the matter be forwarded to the provincial cabinet as there were reports that the college would be handed over to the church on Dec 12.

According to a senior official, the Punjab government planned to hand over the college to the missionary organisation and in this regard, the Punjab minister for higher education and the secretary concerned will arrive in the garrison city.

According to the protesters, if anyone tried to enter the college on Monday, they will have to face “consequences” and said there will be a “massive protest” against the proposed decision on Monday.

Punjab Professor Association Rawalpindi President Khurram Shahzad said they would not allow the government to privatise the college.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2022

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