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Foreign missions, NGOs asked to vacate Peshawar’s poshest, safest locality

Internews Report

PESHAWAR: The Town-III administration in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has issued notices to diplomatic missions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other international organisations functioning in sprawling bungalows in the city’s poshest and safest University Town locality to vacate the residential area in 15 days.

Most of the bungalows in University Town are being used since long as offices by NGOs, different chains of elite schools, hospitals and other organisations, triggering concern among the residents, officials of the Town-III administration said here Saturday.

In this regard, the Peshawar High Court had issued a verdict in favour of the residents who had approached the court against establishment of offices in the residential area.

A total of 120 notices had been issued to all those who had converted residential bungalows into offices of national and international organisations, schools, hospitals, restaurants and other outlets, said Town-III administrator Javed Amjed.

“We have already closed 15 restaurants in University Town for violation of building regulations,” he said, adding action against the remaining offices would be taken in 15 to 20 days after expiry of the deadline.

University Town hosts offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United States Agency for International Development, American Club, Iranian Consulate, International Committee of the Red Cross, British Council and dozens of national and international NGOs.

These offices have been established since long but with the emergence of militancy in the city, administrations of these offices have beefed up security around their workplaces. A few of the roads have also been closed by erecting barricades to avert terror attacks on the offices.

The presence of foreigners, usually escorted by well-equipped guards, has caused unrest among the local dwellers, who have complained that they are under growing stress due to the movement of foreigners. Several times in the past the residents held demonstrations against the presence of offices of international organisations, terming them a threat to the locals.

An official said the provincial government had directed the Town-III administration to issue notices to these offices as the court had already issued a verdict in favour of the locals. “If the locals again approached the court, it could cause embarrassment for the provincial government for not following court directives,” he said.

Town-III administrator Amjed said they had asked the provincial government to establish a ‘diplomatic enclave’ somewhere in Peshawar on the pattern of Islamabad to avoid problems to the locals due to the presence of foreigners. “Now offices of foreigners are scattered in the locality, which need to be in a cluster,” he said.

When asked about the action to be taken against establishment of elite schools in the residential bungalows, he said the administration was a bit flexible towards the schools for the sake of children’s future, but all the educational institutes would be shifted from University Town in summer vacations.

5 comments

  1. That’s an interesting conecpt, Bob, and I have some comments. It is the first time I have seen any library plan that included keeping the old buiding. I was under the impression that the Library Trustees always planned to tear it down. One idea I had in 2010 for the old library building was to let the police department use it. The Bergeron report a couple of years back defined one of the needs of the police department to be more space. The report states that the front of the Public Safety Building, or police department, is in good condition, but they defined one area of concern: They observed that the police department was storing a considerable amount of paperwork in the attic of the building, and expressed concern about the strength of the attic rafters to hold such a weight load. The fire department also uses some rooms in the front building for their bunks, and this represents tight quarters as well. There were other life safety code issues, but they would only be triggered with a renovation, not terribly important to this conversation.I felt that the PD could use the space in the old library building for storage of this paperwork so they could clear out their attic, and possibly move their dispatch over there to free up some more space in the police building.The above conecpt brings up a few questions. The last renovation warrant article of Brewster Memorial Hall created 16,000 feet of office space with conference area, not including the remainder of the auditorium, so I question if 10,000 square feet is enough space? If you look at the above diagram you have displayed, it would appear to me that some of the parking would be on the Glidden property, so I see a possible conflict of interest with the deed restriction on that property, since it specifically designates the property for library purposes only. Would that parking area be considered for library purposes only ? Lastly, if we would be able to move our town offices to the old library, what would we do with Brewster Memorial Hall? I don’t see it as a viable solution.

  2. You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incredible!

  3. good post brother Field since I got here late I won’t wade in. But wanted you to know that this preacher (revolutionary-minded one at that) sides with you and there are other progressive Black preachers out there who see the folly in this thinking as well.Mel

  4. This insight’s just the way to kick life into this debate.

  5. There’s mercy, and there is justice.There’s a ying and a yang.The Barahona’s will experience the natural consequences of their behavior. They’re lucky they live in a land that allows criminals to have “civil” rights, and due process. In another time and place they would have been dawn and quartered, hung in the marketplace, or burned at the stake. No society tolerates child torture. It’s inhuman!

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