Tuesday September 21, 2021

Non-construction of quake-hit schools irks SC

August 03, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday took exception to non-construction of schools that collapsed during an earthquake on October 8, 2005, killing more than 80,000 people and leaving about 4 million others homeless.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed questioned the utilization of billions of funds allocated for the reconstruction of schools after the deadly earthquake in 2005. A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard an appeal of Humaira Bibi, a primary school teacher of Mansehra, who was forcefully retired.

The court while admitting the appeal restored the schoolteacher to her job. The court issued a notice to the chief secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over non-construction of collapsed schools despite the fact that the deadly event occurred some 16 years back. The court also issued notices to the secretary Education, the secretary Elementary and Secondary Education KP besides issuing a notice to the director District Education Mansehra.

During proceedings, the chief justice observed that the attitude of the Department of Education of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the teachers community is not good. Why the schools, destroyed during the catastrophe in Mansehra were not yet reconstructed and how the teachers will teach the students in absence of school buildings, the CJP asked. He inquired about the utilization of funds worth billions of rupees, which were allocated for these schools after the earthquake.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi lauded the applicant who holds a master’s degree. The Department of Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had removed the teacher from service while the Services Tribunal KP had converted the removal of her service into forced retirement. Similarly, the high court had upheld the decision of the Service Tribunal.