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Peshawar diocese backs ousted college principal

25 April 2014


Hearings: Edwardes College 

Hearings: Edwardes College 

THE decision by the Board of Governors of Edwardes College, the only Church of Pakistan college, to remove its Principal, the Revd Dr Titus Presler, has been challenged in court by the diocese of Peshawar.

Two court hearings have taken place so far, and the next is scheduled to take place on 20 May, Dr Presler said on Tuesday.

"According to Bishop Humphrey and according to a resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the diocese of Peshawar, I continue to be Principal of Edwardes College," he said, from the United States. "My return to Peshawar depends on the situation being resolved, which means the outcome of the court case, the restoration of the College to the diocese, and the provision of adequate security."

Last month, Professor Gulzar Jalal Yousafzai, assistant professor of English, said that Dr Presler had been "terminated" as Principal on 26 December, by the Board of Governors.

"The Board of Governors is a competent authority for all the decisions and matters of the college," he said. The Board had "the right to appoint the academic and qualified managers. No religious fanatics!"

Last month, the Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, said that the diocese would "fully support" Dr Presler, and that the decision of the Board had been motivated by "religious intolerance".

"Our desire is that he should be reinstated as he is the best Principal, at least that I have seen," he said. "Within a very short period of time he has contributed a lot, and my other hope is that . . . the Church should be allowed to run its own institution."

Edwardes College was founded in 1900 by the Church Missionary Society, and has been owned by the Lahore Diocesan Trust Association since 1956. Of its 2950 students, 92 per cent are Muslim, and seven per cent Christian; among the 105 faculty members the percentages are similar. Dr Presler had been trying to secure degree-awarding status for the college, the head of the college's sponsoring body, the diocese of Peshawar, becoming the Chancellor (News, 22 February).

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