RAWALPINDI: Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment boards have halted closing down private educational institutions functioning in residential areas till January 5 after the Supreme Court set a date for hearing review petitions against the forced closure of private schools.
The Supreme Court will hear review petitions of owners of private educational institutions on January 5.
Earlier, the All-Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association had requested the Cantonment boards across the country including in the Rawalpindi district to halt the operation till the apex court adjudicated their review pleas.
The deadline for the red notices issued to 8,430 private schools in 42 Cantonment boards across the country including in the Rawalpindi district expired on December 31. According to Cantonment boards, the evacuation notices were served on private educational institutions in light of the Supreme Court order, which had asked private schools to shift their establishments from residential areas by December 30, 2021.
According to sources, both the cantonment boards had formed teams to crack down on 493 private educational institutions functioning in the Rawalpindi district. However, the operation has been halted till the Supreme Court disposed of the review petitions of the private schools.
According to the sources, action against private educational institutions will now be taken in light of the decision of the Supreme Court. “Whatever the court orders, it will be implemented,” the sources said.
Teaching and non-teaching staff and school owners are currently protesting against the evacuation of private schools from Cantonment areas without being provided with an alternative space. Parents have also expressed their concern over the future of their children’s education if private educational institutions were abolished without providing them with an alternative space.
Earlier, All-Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association Joint Action Committee leaders Nasir Mehmood, Abrar Ahmed Khan, Malik Azhar, Chaudhry Tayyab, and others had said that private schools pay millions of rupees in taxes and the fee to cantonment boards, government agencies, and the Federal Board of Revenue.
They said that the closure of schools will do away with this revenue while billions of rupees invested in private schools will also go down the drain. They had said the closure of private schools in cantonment areas will affect three million students and one million teaching and non-teaching staff.
They had said that this will lead to unemployment, resulting in robberies, theft, and suicides. Earlier, RCB Spokesperson Qaiser Mehmood had said that they have served the notices in light of the top court’s orders. He had said that only one institution on Peshawar Road has purchased a building and moved to a commercial area.
However, he said, the rest of the private schools were still operational in residential areas. The spokesperson had said that private schools established on leased and non-leased properties in residential areas would be razed to the ground after the expiry of the deadline.