Cowing down: Landlord turns school into cowshed

Azhar’s animals grazed on the grounds for months before taking over.

Express August 10, 2011


A landlord and his accomplices have seized a local school and turned it into a cow shed.

According to local residents, a local landlord in Talamba has seized a government school for boy’s and has converted it into a shed for his livestock. Talamba village 125-7ER residents said that landlord Azhar Chaudhry and his accomplices had seized the property several months ago but they had recently closed the school.

“The school shares a boundary wall with the landlord’s property and previously they used to tie up their buffaloes in the school grounds but they didn’t interfere with the school,” said school guard Ghafoor.

“Last month they even turned out students and furniture from the building and converted it into a cow shed,” he added. The children going to the school have stopped attending and teachers and parents protested against the landlord.

“We have been calling the Education department to look into the matter but they have stopped taking our calls,” said Talamba resident Masooma, who’s son Fahd went to the primary school for boys. Teachers at the school said that last month the landlord Azhar and several of his men turned them out of their class rooms and threatened that they should not return. “The next day the school was a cowshed. The Education Department has not taken any action yet,” said a teacher Ahmed.

According to residents, the encroachment had been easy because the school did not have any boundary wall and already lacked several basic facilities.

“There was no gate either, so the guard just sat outside the building. That was why Azhar and his men often let their animals graze in the school grounds. The children were banned from playing there,” Ghafoor said.

The Education Department refused to comment on the issue but school officials have said that they will begin protests if no action is taken.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.