This is with reference to alarming statement by State Minister for Interior about 70% rise in use of drugs in private schools for girls in Islamabad. The unfortunate bitter reality is that land is allotted to private schools at subsidized rate and yet they are allowed to run them for commercial benefits, charging astronomically high tuition fees but are unable to prevent distribution of drugs within their premises.

It is indeed failure of State Minister for Interior, CDA and local administration, including law enforcement and other agencies that drugs are easily available within Islamabad. Ever since the State absolved itself of constitutional obligation to provide quality affordable education and health to citizens and instead outsourced it to private sector; acquisition of education has become exclusive privilege of elite. This failure denies Pakistan, rare opportunity of bringing into forefront few individuals whom nature has gifted with rare mental capabilities but whose poor parents cannot afford to pay fees levied by traders owning private schools. After all likes of Dr Abdus Salam or Malala came from humble backgrounds and were educated in government subsidized schools and so are majority of sportsman who have won international acclaim for Pakistan.

Other than majority private school business becoming a profitable trade, monopolized by cartels, they hardly delivered results that were once produced by government schools of repute. Drug use being predominantly prevalent in private schools of Islamabad and other major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Sargodha, Multan, Hyderabad, Murree, Quetta etc is shocking. Even statutory housing societies like DHA etc offering land at subsidized price to private schools, universities, hospitals etc have failed to regulate their functioning and levying huge fees for residents of these societies whose taxes pay salaries of those who administer them.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, December 21.