Abandoned Karachi school encroached upon again

As NGO leaves premises, police move quickly to take possession of the building

Safdar Rizvi January 16, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The building of Government Boys Masoomia School has been encroached upon once again.

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) that had occupied the premises vacated the building soon after the Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah took the notice of a report published by The Express Tribune. However now, the area police are encroaching upon the structure. Disregarding the orders of the education minister on retrieval of the public building, the officers from Yousuf Plaza Police Station took possession of the school building on Monday afternoon. They locked down the gate of the building and the education department officials who arrived to take over control of the school stood helpless as they watched the transfer of state property from the hands of one encroacher to another.

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When staff of the directorate of education came to take possession of the building on Monday, they were informed by the gatekeeper and another man, Sarfaraz, that the building was owned or rented by them. However, seeing the increasing the number of officers at the building, the two took to their heels.

The officers included the School Education and Literacy Department Director Hamid Karim along with Subject Special Assistant Director Musharraf Aliawar, Primary Education Additional Director Saleem Awan, Department of School Education (DSE) Litigation Assistant Director Nawaz Ali Shah, Quality Assurance Deputy Director Mehdi Hasan, Taluka Education Officer Zafar and others.

When the staff of the NGO disappeared, one team of the education department approached the West deputy commissioner, while another reached the Yousuf Plaza Police Station.

At the police station, SHO Anila Qadri called Sarfaraz for an explanation. The accused could not present any legal document to prove ownership or tenancy of the building to which, the police maintained that the case was complex, adding that the accused be given seven days to present the documents. In the meantime, the police took possession of the building. They reached the scene and locked the gates of the building.

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Responding to the situation, Qadri said that both the parties had been given a period of seven days. She said that Sarfaraz had called and told them that he had rented the building from a man named Musheer. When contacted by police, Musheer did not turn up at the police station. The SHO said that the police placed a lock on the building on instructions of DSP Shaukat Raza. We are trying to get the problem resolved as soon as possible, the SHO said. On the other hand, the primary additional education director said that he had informed education secretary about the developments. He added that Primary Education Director Ghulam Abbas, who is in Islamabad, had also been informed of the situation.

Late on Tuesday evening, the education department, however, managed to wrest control of the building from the police.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2019.


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