ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday rejected a petition filed by private school owners seeking the reopening of private schools across the country from August 15.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and observed that it is the government’s job to formulate a policy on the matter and the court would not interfere in it.

The IHC bench added that the elected government is answerable to the people and the government would take a decision after assessing the situation.

All Pakistan Private Schools’ Association had last week announced to open schools from August 15 defying government orders that said schools would be allowed to open from Sept 15 provided coronavirus cases continued to decline.

The private school owners approached the high court to get an order in this regard saying that the closure of schools, enforced in March to curtail the pandemic, has been a financial blow for them.

Responding to the petition, Justice Athar observed that the government was also looking into the matter and the court cannot interfere in a matter which is out of its jurisdiction. The IHC bench further directed the petitioners to approach the relevant forum before disposing of the petition.

During the hearing, the petitioners’ lawyer adopted that all the educational institutions have remained shut in past months due to coronavirus pandemic. He further said that this has led to problems for school owners but the government does not care. He added that appeals have been made but no decision has been taken yet.

Justice Athar remarked that it is not just school owners but also students’ education that is getting affected. He added that it would be incorrect to say that the matter has not come to the government’s attention.

He further said that it is the job of the government to formulate a policy on the matter and the court would not interfere. He directed the petitioners to approach the relevant authorities not through individuals but through the association.

Educational institutes in the country have been shut since the pandemic hit the country in efforts to contain the spread of the virus and ensure protection for students.

The provincial education ministers, on July 8, had agreed to reopen all educational intuitions across the country in the first week of September.

However, the All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association on July 20 announced reopening of educational institutes from August 15 across the country.