Updated: November 10, 2014 10:24 PM GMT
Activists take part in a protest to demand that St Francis High School be returned to the Archdiocese of Lahore from the Pakistani government (Credit: Fr Andrew Nisari)
Catholics in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province, are rejoicing over their government's recent decision to return a more than century-old school to the archdiocese.
“Thanks be to God … as we welcome the government decision in returning back St Francis High School to the Archdiocese of Lahore after 30 long years,” Fr Andrew Nisari, parish priest of Mary Immaculate Church in Lahore's Anarkali neighborhood, said last week.
“Our supporters in this campaign prayed, stood with us in the heat of June, protesting and demanding our school back from the government,” Fr Nisari said.
Fr Nisari added that “all children without any distinction are welcome to benefit from this institution”.
St Francis High School was founded in 1842, but was taken over by the Pakistan government in 1972 as part of president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's policy of nationalization. Bhutto's policy seized control of all schools, colleges, and hospitals held by Christians in the country.
In 2004, president Pervez Musharraf ordered a conditional privatization of minority educational institutions. As a result, 16 of the Archdiocese of Lahore's schools were returned to its control, with only St Francis remaining as a government-run institution.
Since 2004, the archdiocese had appealed to multiple governmental departments, the courts, and to the United Nations to regain control over the school.
Source:Catholic News Service
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.