I’m from KGS and I can’t study next to… a big building?

Published: October 13, 2010
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Parents of Karachi Grammar School students urge the administration to act responsibly

When you live in Pakistan, you are never short of burning issues that you can spend hours debating. There are floods, corruption and the rising cost of living  – but for a select few there is another far more pressing concern – the construction of a high rise building next to Karachi Grammar School.

Parents have been protesting and taking to the streets to stop the construction that is to take place right next to their children’s private school.

Their concern you ask?

The building, they say, is a security risk and an environmental hazard. Environmental hazard? KGS is located next to a nullah, but obviously the trash, dirty water and whatever else is housed within the nullah has never been a health hazard for the kids.

Placards at the protest asked the administration to ‘protect our national treasure’ and told them ‘don’t be mean, go green.’ Armed policemen stood quietly in front of the protesters (amusing how when citizens protest power outages and water shortage they usually get a taste of the ‘lathi’ or are told to clear off.)

Of course, the parents have a right to protect their children. When they protested against the construction of a United States consulate near the campus it was understandable – who would want to live or study next to a structure that represents ‘enemy number one’?

But this case is a bit different no? Barring the whole debate about how half the country does not have food, money, education, let us ask the Karachi Grammar School administration and this ‘concerned’ lot of parents what they were doing when they started jamming the main road (lets not even discuss the side road) with their every day traffic. Cars are sometimes parked up to the third lane, with drivers and mothers conveniently gone to pick up the kids while their car stands in the middle of the road, an obvious ‘hazard’ to cars and trucks driving on the main road, not to mention noise pollution and an overall negative impact to the environment for nearby residents.

And what about the old Saddar campus?

Pollution? Check.

High rises? Check.

And don’t even get me started about the traffic jams in Saddar.

These people are either just ignorant or seated too high on their well-fed horses to  look around (or down for that matter). Seriously guys, I don’t see any schools complaining about high rises, and they’re not even located next to a ditch filled with half of Clifton’s trash. Let’s be fair shall we? I’m sure none of the residents who had to bear with the school when it opened took out a rally complaining about the noise every morning.

Some of us who have to travel by Boat Basin have to face some inconvenience while the policemen obediently stand by making sure nobody offends ‘the wrong people’, even though they’re not being law abiding citizens at all. The situation is not only pathetic, it also reeks of the elitist mindset that is so rampant in our country. The one that screams ‘We are always right – you shut up and sit down.’

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 15, 2010

The title of this article has been changed to reflect the fact that the construction is a commercial building. The original titled quoted the construction as flats.

Shaheryar Popalzai

Shaheryar Popalzai

A sub-editor on the web desk of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.