MIRAN SHAH / PESHAWAR:
With the meagre funds available and construction of a new building expected to take at least several months to complete, the government has decided to convert the sole degree college for girls in the North Waziristan district headquarters into a complex to house the newly-appointed judiciary there.
According to a notification from the government, available with The Express Tribune, the administration of the Government Postgraduate College for Girls in Miran Shah has been asked to shift their classes to the building of the Tochi public school located some three kilometres away.
The notification added that the college can complete its curriculum by holding classes in the school.
Moreover, the North Waziristan tribal district administration has directed the relevant officials to renovate the college building to prepare it as the new judicial complex and to erect a sign outside the building.
“The college building has been lying vacant ever since the military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb commenced in June 2014,” North Waziristan Additional Deputy Commissioner Manzoor Afridi told the media as he confirmed that the new judicial complex in the erstwhile federally administered tribal agency will be housed in the college building.
He further said that that they have no other option to house the complex, adding that a decision to utilise the college building was taken in light of consultations with the district administration.
Given the volatile and violent history of North Waziristan and the shadow of militancy not quite receding, Afridi was asked about the security of the judicial staffers, judges, lawyers and litigants at the complex.
Afridi went on to explain that this was one of the factors which drove their decision to house the judicial complex in the college building. “We had no choice left and took the decision out of compulsion and helplessness,” he said.
“We have not left girls studying in the college exposed under the blue sky, rather, we have shifted them to the Tochi public school which is just a short distance away,” the ADC said.
However, residents of the district headquarters have termed the decision as unjust apart from claiming that the move will keep girls away from education.
Zahid Wazir, a resident of the area, told The Express Tribune that they felt a little secure in allowing their daughters to go to the college because it was located in a secure area of Miran Shah.
“Even during the Taliban-era, girls used to study here, while scores of girls also visited from far-flung areas of the district and considered this the most suited place for education,” Wazir added.
North Waziristan resident added that the district administration should review the decision to shift the girl’s college. Otherwise, he warned, they will stage a protest apart from utilising other forums to raise this issue.
Before the military operation began, the college was located in the secure cantonment area, and a hundred girls were enrolled in it. After the military operation ended, the security forces renovated the building apart from providing funds to enhance the education of girls in the district.
But after the 25 constitutional amendments were passed and the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) were merged with the settled districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), it was decided to extend the judiciary here apart from extending the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) there.
The provincial government sanctioned some 907 posts including seven vacancies of district and session judges, 14 posts of additional district and session judges, seven senior civil judges and 24 civil judges in the newly created districts after the merger of Fata with K-P.
As a first step, the PHC has promoted eight additional district and sessions judges to district and sessions judges (BPS-21), similarly, it has promoted 22 senior civil judges to additional district and sessions judges (BPS-20); while 29 civil judges cum judicial magistrates have been promoted to senior civil .judges (BPS-19).
No charwomen in schools
In a surprising move, the provincial government has decided to abolish the post of cleaning ladies from all middle, high and higher-secondary girls’ schools in the province.
Hence, there will be no new hirings against the posts after the retirement of all such employees currently in service.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2019.