Shah Farman the KPK Governor resists the bid to return Edward College Peshawar to the mission despite, the PTI leaders promised that the college would be handed over to the Christian community soon.
According to the stakeholders, Edward College Peshawar has been politicized by the Provincial Government and the Governor wants to operate the college under his command.
The Church Missionary Society established the Church Mission College in 1900 in Peshawar as an outgrowth of Edward High School, which had been founded and built in 1855 by the society as the first institution of western-style schooling in the northwest frontier region of what was British India, named after Sir Barbet Edward. From its inception, only foreigners were appointed as principals. It is situated in the beautiful area of Peshawar, with prestigious landscape and plantation around its building and state-of-art architectural designed by the foreigners at the time. The college became well renowned for its repute and devotion to the prime cause of education.
Zarak Haroon told Truth Tracker that from the past few months, the Government of KPK and Governor Shah Farman had been threatening the Principal of Edward College Brig(R) Nair Ferdous, appointed in 2014, for the custody of the institute, as the Governor’s involvement had been replaced by the Church Authority. The Governor wants this college to be fully operated by his command. The court proceeding held in this regard, but the verdict was pronounced in the favor of the Church. Various Christian groups are protesting against the decision of the Peshawar High Court and the pressure of the KPK Governor itself. Christians are outrages against the decision of Peshawar High Court in favor of the Governor. They displayed cards and banners in front of Punjab Assembly and recorded their message to the media. They strongly claim Edward College to be fully incorporated to the Church with no involvement outside the Church. Christians in Pakistan urge Imran Khan Prime Minister of Pakistan to take appropriate action so that all Christian Institute are being in the country. They also urge him to make rules to safeguard all Christian properties.
Previously, the Governor established Governance Board, members comprising provincial education minister, seven civil secretariat members and himself as Board Chairman, without whom no changes can be made. The Governor also obliged many politicians at the institute. All the financial matters and funds were at the disposal of the Governor. This issue was brought in the attention of the High Court Peshawar by the management, hence the decision was declared in favor of the management. But on the other hand, the Governor still held his role to rule the institute. Members of the staff wanted to appoint Muslim professor as a principal and started propaganda against the Christian principal. The Muslim staff and students held a protest against Christian principal at the press club. The Bishop of Peshawar had stay of this verdict. This was decided on May 12, 2019. The government solicitor argued that this institute was held by the government in 1970, the Judge asked the solicitor to proof his claim, but he failed to provide any proof.
Ms. Samar Bilour, Member KPK Assembly Awami National Party (ANP) lives in the same lane just adjacent to Edward College said that she totally condemns the verdict of the Governor claiming it to be under his supremacy. In the previous years, his control has spoiled the reputation of the Nobel institute. Muslim Principal has personal motives no one knows. There was political involvement found and result rate of drop-off increased in last five years and the quality of education has deteriorated. The education and Christian management system was quite better in the times of Christian authorities. For most, it is a Christian institute and must always remain under the supervision of Christians for its high standards. However, a local principal with local prospective would be a best idea. ANP don’t like any mismanagement in this institute and totally condemn the role of Governor who has spoiled the reputation of the institute. She said that her party and stands with the Christian management. Ms. Bilour also expressed her sympathies for the Christian Institute.
Dr. Sarah Safdar, Member of Board Governance, Edward College said that Edwards College in Peshawar is the property of the Church for the past 120 years. The college is operated by the Christian management that has never been nationalized in its history along with 17 other missionary schools that are under the Peshawar Dioceses. The Christians around the country are range against the decision of the Peshawar High Court that alleged in favor of the Governor KPK. She claimed that all the financial matters of the college are transparent and there is no discrepancy as of her knowledge. She strongly condemn any political and government involvement to snatch this institute from the hands of the church that is doing remarkable work.
Mr. James Thomas, Member National Assembly PTI told Truth Tracker that he had spoken with the Prime Minister on the issue of Edward College, and confirmed that PTI does not want to capture any missionary institute. He further said that it is a mafia within the institute that has approached the Governor, who is already under the influence of the bureaucracy for personal benefits. These government officials are also under the influence of politicians and others, which the church management does not wants to work with for the benefits of otherwise then the education at sole. He confirmed admissions of 1400 students in the year 2019 but only 56 Christian enrolled. Higher Education does not have intensions to take up this college. He also said that there may be some mismanagement issues in view of the Governor and its alliance and needs to be addressed and Bishop must take initiates. He expressed his heartfelt sympathies and said that missionary institute should always remain missionary institute and no other entity has right to take that away.