By Zulfiqar Ahmad
ISLAMABAD: The project director (PD) University of Chitral has made 16 staff, including three female officers, of education department in Booni hostage for about two weeks by sending 11 armed guards led by the public relations officer of his institution.
The PD resorted to this tactic after the education department took over its building which it had earlier given to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University (SBBU) Booni campus as a stopgap arrangement in 2012 on the request of the then MPA Ghulam Muhammad.
After establishment of the University of Chitral, the SBBU campus at Booni was shut down, following which the education department (subdivision Mastuj) took over the building and shifted the subdivisional education officer (SDEO) female’s office from a rented building to it.
This earned the ire of PD UoC who sent 11 guards including the PRO of the university from Chitral town to seal the office of SDEO (female) Booni at gunpoint. This angered the locals who broke the seal and entered the building.
Sources privy to the development told ChitralToday that the newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner Upper Chitral Shah Saud was yet to take notice of the matter and guards are keeping the entire staff of the SDEO (female) office hostage.
“This is straight harassment of female staff. Due to presence of these 11 armed men, the female staff including SDEO have been confined to a room as they could not move around due to presence of heavily armed men inside their premises,” said a male staff of the SDEO female office Booni.
The activists of Tehreek Huqooq-e-Awami Booni have warned that if any untoward incident happened, the local administration will be held responsible.
When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Mastuj at Booni Ashfaq Ahmed said the issue had been discussed at length and the deputy commissioner had sought reply from the PD but he (PD) requested for a month to come up with a solution.
“We will put the issue on top of the agenda once the [one month] deadline is over,” said the AC.
When asked why the administration is not rounding up armed guards illegally sent by the UoC PD, he said SDEO female should approach the local police to register an FIR, and in case of non-cooperation from police, his office will take action.
Talking to ChitralToday on phone from Peshawar, Prof Badshah Munir, the PD of the university, denied sending any armed guards to occupy the SDEO female office at Booni. He claimed that the building which was earlier under the use of SBBU Booni campus had been transferred to UoC.
He also said the office of district education officer (female) did not contact the university before shifting the SDEO office to the building due to which he had sent his legal team not any armed guards to the area to look into matter.
However, the staff of SDEO female office Booni as well as the locals confirmed the presence of 11 armed guards at the site. The locals of the area demanded immediate removal of the armed men from the office.