ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) in its effort to curb commercialisation of residential areas has sealed around 42 private schools operating in the residential areas of different sectors and regulated societies of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to relocate these institutions in commercial areas.
An official of CDA said on Monday that the action has been taken following the orders of the Islamabad High Court which clearly directed all the private schools to vacate their building in residential areas.
Running commercial operations in residential areas is against the law and falls under non-conforming use of the buildings.
The official said that the Building Control Department of CDA has warned that all schools operating in the residential areas of federal capital would be sealed during the weekend holidays. The action was being taken in accordance with the Islamabad High Court order of May 3, under which the court had directed the private schools to shift from residential areas to commercial, he informed.
“We have closed around 42 private schools so far in Sectors G-6, G-7, H-8 and the activity will continue till complete implementation of the court order,” the official told. The schools had not followed the instructions of the court despite a lapse of nearly three months due to which the CDA had to take action to implement the courts order, he added.
The houses on rent for schools were not for commercial use, he said adding that the management of the institutions would have to relocate from residential to commercial areas.
However, the officials of the different associations of the private schools and colleges have requested the high court to give appropriate time to these schools so that they could arrange alternative buildings in commercial areas.
Due to the urgent action of CDA for relocating of these schools to commercial areas, they said the future of over 350,000 students studying in the private schools working in different sectors and regulated societies of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) is at risk.
Private schools denounce action
The All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association Central President Malik Ibrar Hussain has declared the CDA action as illegal.
Denouncing CDA action, Hussain said that it will close the doors of education on hundreds of students getting education in around 1,500 private schools of the federal capital. Moreover, more than 40,000 of teaching and allied staff members will lose jobs.
Although the case has been lingering on in the courts since long and the authority has served numerous warnings and notices to the schools, Hussain said CDA was taking action without prior intimation to the schools, therefore they did not have time to arrange substitutes of the present buildings, he added.
He said that in an old case, without hearing the stance of the private sector, suddenly CDA has closed the doors of education on the residents of Islamabad which is clearly an action against the national interest of the country, because children are the future of Pakistan.
He demanded of the Pakistan Chief Justice Mian Saquib Nisar to take suo motu notice of the situation, safeguarding the future of thousands of children of ICT.
CDA action is tarnishing the image of the country and is an affront to teachers everywhere, he added. He said that the association would knock on the door of the apex court in this regard, adding that they would not be silent spectators to the on-going scenario.
More than 1,500 private schools were working in the Islamabad urban areas with around 350,000 students. CDA has closed around 42 private sector schools so far in the different sectors.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2018.