ISLAMABAD - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to remove illegal occupants from around 300 rooms in different hostels of the University of Peshawar, forcing the Vice Chancellor to seek governor’s help.

In a letter, UoP VC Dr Asif has asked KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra for support, saying that hundreds of outsiders are consuming resources of the institution and their presence is causing financial losses.

The security agencies, in a letter to the provincial home department, have also declared these illegal occupants a security threat, an official source told The Nation here Monday.

The source said these outsiders are harmful for the peaceful environment of the institution, which does not have their data, and their presence could turn the hostels into a hub of criminal activities.

There are seven hostels in the university with around 1,200 rooms capacity but more than 300 rooms (25 percent) are occupied by illegal people, the source said.

He said that legally a room is allotted to two or maximum three students. But up to five outsiders live in one room and their estimated number is above 1,200, he added.

The official said that the mafia of student federations, affiliated with different ethnic, religious and national political parties, is ‘selling’ these rooms to outsiders at Rs100,000 per room and making Rs30 to Rs35 million annually.

For example, the source said, Pakhtun Students Federation, People Students Federation and Jamiat Talba Islam (of Jamaat-e-Islami) have illegally occupied almost 200 rooms. Besides this, student federations of PTI and others are also having their share in this illegal business.

When asked as who are residing in these rooms, he said: “We do not have the data of these illegal occupants as they may be criminals, terrorists or drug dealers”.

The people behind this illegal rooms’ business are very strong and therefore the provincial government and the university administration are reluctant to take action against them, the source said.

In November 2017, the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) raided the university hostels and arrested some people for having drugs.

Last month, after receiving a warning from the security agencies, the home secretary held a meeting with the university administration and high officials of KP police to evolve a strategy for removal of these illegal occupants, the source said.

In a separate letter to the provincial home department, the security agencies have clearly identified these illegal occupants as a security threat but so far no concrete step was taken by the KP administration, the source said.

When contacted, another official of the university said on condition of anonymity that the illegal allotment of rooms started during the tenure of ANP government.

“Now these people have grown so strong that the PTI government has clearly asked the university administration to avoid any action against them as it may create a Lahore’s Modal Town-like situation,” the official added.

Around one dozen people related to different federations are behind the illegal sale of hostel rooms, the official said.