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KARACHI, Feb 19 Taking notice of the highly dilapidated and bad condition of the Church Mission School (CMS) where Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had studied, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq directed the provincial works department on Friday to immediately start the restoration work of the three ruined blocks of the school, besides removing all the encroachments from its premises.

The minister also directed the provincial secretary of education to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the school's General Register which contained the record of all its students, including Mr Jinnah's.

The minister gave these directives while he along with senior officials of the education department and a group of journalists paid a surprise visit to the school on Friday.

The school prior to its nationalisation in 1971 was one of the best educational institutions of the city where many students passed their matric examinations with flying colours. It had also produced a number of cricketers of international repute such as Mushtaq Mohammad, Sadiq Mohammad, Intekhab Alam and Haroon Rasheed.

Currently four schools — CMS Primary, CMS Secondary, Cutchhi Memon Association (CMA) Primary and CMA Girls Secondary — are being run in the recently built blocks while the original three blocks of the CMS are lying completely abandoned.

The minister suspended the district officer of secondary and high schools (Male), Shabbir Jokhio, because he failed to turn up at the school during the minister's visit.

The minister visited the school's classrooms, the principal's office and the compound and was shocked by the filthy and unclean environment of the school.

He expressed his displeasure at the bad condition of the historical building and immediately ordered the officials concerned to ensure that the restoration work of the three blocks of the school and the school's restoration work were carried out simultaneously so that the people of the country could feel proud of the historical institution where the Father of the Nation had studied before taking admission to the Sindh Madressah-tul-Islam.

The minister also took notice of some shelters built just on the left side of the school's main block which also carried the school's foundation stone which read that the CMS was founded by the first collector of Karachi, Colonel Henry W. Preedy, in 1846.

Ban on ceremonies

Taking notice that marriage ceremonies were being held on the school premises, the minister ordered the education officer concerned to immediately bring to an end all such practices as President Asif Ali Zardari had already issued a clear directive banning all sorts of ceremonies in schools, parks and playgrounds.

The minister was told that the affairs of the school were being managed by a mission society of Christ Church which was situated across the road but its condition and quality of education started deteriorating after the school was taken over by the government in the wake of its nationalisation policy of 1971.

Additional secretary (planning), director planning Mehdi Baloch, education (works) department's chief engineer Saeed Malik and deputy director of private schools Ms Rafia Mallah accompanied the minister during the visit.