Putting days of unease and speculation to rest, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed authorities to reopen Aisha Bawany College in Karachi. The court also directed law enforcement authorities to assist officials in getting the order implemented. Following the directives, the college was unlocked on Thursday and will remain in operation until a final verdict is passed in the case.

Additionally, the court served notices on Sindh inspector general, the provincial education secretary, Aisha Bawany Trust and others, seeking replies by September 25.

The news of the historic college and its students has been making rounds for days following the closure of premises by the Aisha Bawany Trust. The trust administration had sought orders from a subordinate court to close down the college until the resolution of a dispute over the premises’ ownership.

Aisha Bawany College is one of the many institutes privatized during the tenure of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Aisha Bawany College was one of the many institutes privatized during the tenure of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The institution was handed back to the trust’s private administration in 1986. However, there remains confusion over the actual ownership of the college to date.

Subsequently, the college was shut down on Friday, September 15, much to the dismay and anger of affected students and parents. The college administration obtained an SHC order against the directives of the lower court. But both sides remained at loggerheads until Thursday’s decision by the provincial high court. Agitated students had held a protest on Monday, blocking the main Shahrah-e-Faisal Road to voice their dissent over the trust administration’s failure to comply with the court’s decision.

The two-member bench who passed Thursday’s order also put the building at the provincial government’s disposal, solely for the purpose of continuing educational activities.

The government claims the trustees want to use the premises for commercial purposes, with Karachi Director of Colleges Mohammad Mashooque going as far as terming the administration “land grabbers”.

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