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Police ‘harass’ college principal

20 December 2013

EDWARDES COLLEGE

Historic foundation: the Old Hall at Edwardes College, built in 1910, now houses the theatre, library and arts classrooms 

Historic foundation: the Old Hall at Edwardes College, built in 1910, now houses the theatre, library and arts classrooms 

A RAID was conducted on the residence of the Principal of Edwardes College, Peshawar, in Pakistan, on Tuesday of last week.

The Principal, the Revd Dr Titus Presler, said on Monday that "about 12 personnel in two vehicles forced their way through the main gate of the College". He was asked to leave the country, but "no written notification was given, whereas regular government channels make written notifications. The officials did not identify themselves in a way that could be verified. Extensive enquiries made since the raid have failed to identify them or their agency with any certitude."

Dr Presler said that, "After consultation with appropriate authorities, I have not changed my travel plans in response to the raid." He confirmed that he had a work visa authorised by the Interior Ministry of the Government of Pakistan and issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC.

Dr Presler reported two instances of "harassment" this month. Five days before the raid, a group that included one of the people who had visited him had visited the Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Revd Humphrey S. Peters, and warned him that he and his family would "suffer consequences" if he attempted to contact the Ministry of the Interior about the cancellation of Dr Presler's visa. After the raid, two senior administrators at the College had been told to meet the caller at a park near by, or be arrested. They had not agreed to the demand, and there had since been no repetition.

Dr Presler suggested that the events were part of "the general pressure on the Christian community in Pakistan", which included "harassing its efforts to contribute to higher education in the nation".

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