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Aitchison College Principal Michael A Thomson (left) and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs & Establishment Ahad Cheema. — X/@MurtazaViews/Facebook/BARD Foundation
Aitchison College Principal Michael A Thomson (left) and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs & Establishment Ahad Cheema. — X/@MurtazaViews/Facebook/BARD Foundation
  • Principal Thomson resigned over alleged interventions by governor.
  • Minister Cheema urges governor not to withdraw fee waiver policy.
  • Says politics overshadows “responsive policy” issued by governor.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Ahad Cheema has decided against availing fee waiver facility for his children at Aitchison College following a backlash, however, he called for the continuation of the “fee waiver policy” for other students.

The fee waiver issue stirred controversy after Principal Michael A Thomson of the noted educational institution tendered his resignation after receiving an order from Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman to waive the fees of Cheema’s sons.

In a letter to the Punjab governor, the federal minister stated that he does not want to avail the fee waiver facility for his children.

He detailed that the fee waiver application for his children was submitted by his wife with regards to the matter of leave of absence of the children, who were studying at Aitchison College.

“After having considered the matter for more than a year, you were kind enough to issue a new policy on this subject on the representation of my spouse,” wrote Cheema.

“The new policy that waives off the fee when a student is not studying at the College is just, fair, equitable and against the traditional elitist mindset and therefore, is highly appreciated amongst the general parent body,” he added.

He criticised that politics has overshadowed the “solution-oriented and responsive policy” issued by the governor. Cheema said that his family has suffered “mockery, slur and a vilification campaign in this episode just because of my being in public office.”

— Supplied
— Supplied

He claimed that Principal Thomson had offered him “an individual relief on the quite side” and “was communicated through some respectable people who were in the knowledge of the matter”. However, Cheema said that his family refused to take any “under-the-table deal” based on the principles.

“The basis of applications made to your office lay in our belief that what we were seeking was fair, appropriate and in public interest, with the aim to improve upon an iniquitous policy framework which discriminated between rich and not-so-rich parents,” he added.

He blamed Principal Thompson for orchestrating a strange and pointless controversy who has already resigned and is on his way out. “The Principal’s brazen and high-headed refusal of Board’s and Chairman’s policy decisions is unheard of.”

Cheema was of the view that the “policy is going to be very helpful” for students and their parents in times to come. He urged the governor to “not relent on the principle and not withdraw the new policy under any nefarious pressure.

Thomson said that he will be stepping down from the principal’s post on April 1 and will not be playing any role in the management and admissions process, Geo News reported yesterday citing a letter issued to the college staff.

The letter mentioned that the college’s policy was undermined to “favour some people”, adding that there is no room for “politics and nepotism” in the college. The principal added that over the past year, “prejudiced actions by the Governor House have contributed to a breakdown of governance and management.”

Thompson further added the letter from the Governor’s House “exonerates Mr and Mrs Cheema from paying a tuition fee under college policy for a guaranteed place after a long leave and all future parents’ requests to a maximum of three years’ leave”.

Moreover, the principal also cancelled the admission of the kids after they failed to join the school once their leaves ended. However, the governor had cancelled the principal’s order to cancel their admissions.

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