islamabad-Teachers and students of Post-Graduate College for Men, H-9 held a protest against illegal occupation of the institution’s property by a land mafia in violation of Supreme Court’s order, on Tuesday.

The SC in 2009 had decided that properties belonging to the education department could not be utilized for commercial purposes, said an official.  Above 300 students and teachers blocked the service road along with 9th avenue and staged the protest against the private land mafia who despite the expiration of lease had occupied nearly 16 rooms of the college where they are running a private business.

The official informed The Nation that in 2012 top officials of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) had illegally allotted the college property to a businessman on rent. The official said that the college property was given on lease for five years and Rs5000 rent was set for each of the 16 shops between FDE and the business party.

“However the rent never reached the college treasury despite the expiration of the 5 year lease, the powerful business party continued to keep his occupation on the college property,” said the official.

The official further said that the college administration with the help of FDE and law enforcement departments refused to refresh the agreement deed after 2017, as the property was required to utilize it for academic purposes. “But, the businessman had strong relations and he kept his occupation and refused to vacate the college property,” said the official.

The official also added that the backyard property of the college is already under the occupation of ‘Sweet Home’ at the cost of its hostel.

The Post Graduate College for Men has above 1700 students while the number of teaching staff is 75. “Now students of far flung areas including FATA and Gilgit Baltistan do not take admission in one of the oldest Post Graduate Colleges for men because of non- availability of hostel,” said the official 

According to official the college property is shrinking from two sides, the front has been occupied by private entities while the backyard is occupied by the government’s ‘Sweet Home for orphan children’. The official also added that the occupation of educational institution property was also a violation of Capital Development Administration’s bylaws which also prohibits commercial activity on the main road.

According to the official, CDA had also served notices to the college with strict instructions that the college building could end up getting vacated. “FDE and college principal were also called for expiation but the occupant was given relief by the CDA,” said the official.

Government Teachers Association and college staff member Professor Tahir Mehmood talking to The Nation said that the shortage of classrooms and residential facilities aggravated concerns amongst students and teachers as they were directly being affected by the occupation.

“The college has to start four years honours degree program but it has no available classrooms,” he said.

He said that the college itself does not have sufficient funds for constructing a new building on 47 acres of land but the private businessman has earned millions from the college property.

He added that the college authorities, compelled by FDE, requested to file an FIR against the occupant but the request was of no avail. The occupant had been operating different commercial activities and it is a matter of concern for the college that unwanted and unrecognized persons have been visiting the college without intimation to the college authorities, which is also a security threat.

“After January 2017 upon expiry of the lease, the FDE successfully vacated the area in March 2018 but within the month the property was again occupied by the businessman because of his strong connections in powerful corridors,” he said. The occupant moved to civil court which turned down his request for stay and the case was dismissed. Later on he filed a writ petition in Islamabad High Court, and succeeded in reoccupying the college building on April 6, 2018, said Prof Tahir Mehmood.

He added that the hostel building of the college, with almost 70 rooms with a capacity to accommodate more than 200 students was seized by Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal in August 2013 and converted into Pakistan Sweet Home in pretext that the hostel was useless for college students.