Christian community in UK disappointed over PHC decision on Edward College, Peshawar

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RUGBY: The members of Christian community in the UK, were saddened and upset by the recent decision of the Peshawar High Court, to declare the Edwardes College Peshawar, a nationalized institute, despite being presented with obvious and historical contradictory facts and evidence.  

Councillor Dr. James Shera, former Mayor of Rugby, said, “The Prime Minister spoke very eloquently recently in the UN about the injustices and atrocities being committed against the Muslims in Kashmir. We as Pakistani Christians support this stance and condemn the injustices against all the minorities, anywhere in the world. At the same time we need to set our own house in order, and ensure that the minorities in Pakistan are treated fairly and equitably, and their properties are not usurped by oppressors.” He appealed to the Pakistani Christians to remain calm and pray, and hoped that the Supreme Court of Pakistan would dispense justice.

The Peshawar High Court in a judgement on 1 October 2019 (detailed written judgement to follow) dismissed Bishop of Peshawar Diocese’s application and declared Edwardes College a nationalized institute, under the administrative control of Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Peshawar High Court has also suspended its earlier judgement in Writ Petition 105-P/2016, which had declared Edwardes College a Private institute, and the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s notification 1974, for constitution of Edwardes College Board of Governors, without any legal backing. However, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa filed an application in the Peshawar High Court against Bishop of Peshawar, under section 12(2) of CPC in Writ Petition 105-P/2015, with claim that Edwardes College stands nationalized in 1974 along with its property. This application was accepted.

Dr. Shera further added, “Pakistan does not need further unnecessary divisions among its people. A positive step had been taken by the Punjab Government recently when it handed back a Christian school in Faisalabad, to its Christian owners. I appeal to the Prime Minister to resolve this issue which is proving excellent education to its students by issuing an Executive Order to hand back Edwardes College and all other Christian institutes which were nationalized to their rightful owners: Murray College, Gordon College, Lawrence College and Burn Hall College. All these colleges had been providing excellent broad and balanced education, to students in Pakistan, over many decades. However, after nationalisation, their education standards went down. We believe that the actions of KPK Government, harms the reputation of Pakistan as a minority friendly country and will not help reflect the soft and tolerant image of Pakistan. It is also contrary to the vision of the Qaid Azam’s speech of 11 Aug 1948, and the Prime Minister’s own vision of Naya Pakistan.” 

Background

Historically, Edwardes College was established in 1900 by the Church Missionary Society (CMS). It is a private college and registered as a private college with Higher Education Regulatory Authority (HERA) KPK, it has never been nationalized and is owned by Diocese of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan.

Prime Minister had publicly committed with Christian Community of Pakistan in 2014, that Edwardes College shall remain with Church. Both Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during their visits to UK, had agreed with Pakistani Christian friends in UK, that Edwardes College is an independent Christian College and should remain as such. 

For further information, Councillor James Shera can be contacted on Tel: 01788 560512 e mail: jamesshera @gmail.com, or Councillor Morris Johns: morrisjohns@yahoo.co.uk