Historic High School Faces Controversial Transformation into Judicial Complex

Web DeskSeptember 12, 2023

A century-old high school in Jhika Gali, Murree, is at the center of a brewing controversy as the Punjab government has given the green light to convert it into a judicial complex. This decision has not only ignited outrage among locals but has also drawn the ire of educational advocates who emphasize the significance of preserving the region’s heritage and providing educational opportunities to its youth.

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The Chief Justice’s Directive: A Lightning Rod for Controversy

What has further fueled the controversy is a directive from the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) during a meeting with provincial authorities. The Chief Justice personally instructed authorities to expedite the transfer of the school’s land to the judiciary, setting a tight deadline of just seven days. This directive has raised concerns not only about the fate of the historic school but also about the future of the students currently enrolled in the institution.

Educational Dilemma in an Area with Limited Facilities

The decision to convert the century-old high school into a judicial complex has raised questions about the availability of educational facilities in the region. Jhika Gali, Murree, is already grappling with limited access to quality education, and the conversion of this historic institution could exacerbate the situation. Locals and educational advocates argue that preserving the school’s heritage and educational function should take precedence over other considerations.

The Board of Revenue’s Role and Controversial Orders

The Board of Revenue (Colonies Department), Punjab, has played a pivotal role in executing the transfer of the school’s land. Their orders to the local administration have been met with criticism, as they are viewed as a blatant disregard for the value of education and the historical significance of the school. In an official letter dated August 28, the Deputy Secretary (Colonies-I) of the Board of Revenue requested the Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpindi and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Murree to identify an alternative piece of state land for the Government M.C High School Jhika Gali, Murree, leaving the historic school’s future hanging in the balance.

The LHC’s Role in the Controversy

Simultaneously, an Assistant Registrar of the Lahore High Court issued instructions to the District and Sessions Judge, Rawalpindi, to take possession of the contested land, further signaling the contentious path ahead for this controversial project. The involvement of the judiciary has added a layer of complexity to the issue, with many calling for a reevaluation of the decision in light of the school’s historical significance and its role in providing education to the local community.

Balancing Preservation and Progress

As the controversy surrounding the conversion of the historic high school into a judicial complex continues to simmer, the debate highlights the delicate balance between preserving heritage and advancing development. The fate of the school and its students hangs in the balance, with stakeholders on both sides of the argument advocating passionately for their respective positions. Ultimately, the outcome will shape not only the educational landscape of Jhika Gali, Murree, but also serve as a reflection of how societies navigate the intersection of tradition and progress.

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