The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reinstated the ownership of the historic Gordon College in Rawalpindi to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Sialkot Mission.
The verdict resolves a 52-year-long legal battle over the 130-year-old institution nationalised in 1972 by the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The college, established in 1893 by the British and serving as a beacon of academic excellence, faced challenges after its nationalization. The ruling has been a subject of contention, especially among students and faculty who feared the impact of privatisation on the college’s historical and educational value.
Protests erupted last year when the Government of Punjab announced the handing over of the historic college and all its properties to the Christian mission and subsequently, the students and teachers filed an appeal before the top court which was later dismissed.
Sources said the college teachers and students can file an intra-court appeal against the decision of the apex court.
Despite protests and opposition, the legal victory signifies a turning point for religious and educational rights in Pakistan. The case, represented by Advocate Imran Aziz Qureshi, was noted for its parallels with similar challenges faced by other institutions like Forman Christian College University.
This ruling is not merely a legal resolution but marks a significant moment in Pakistan’s educational history, emphasizing the delicate balance between preserving educational heritage and legal property rights.