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Cricket and Education: University Forced to Close As Government Uses Parking Lot

Cricket fans breathe a sigh of relief as they see the progress Pakistani national cricket has made throughout the past few years with the introduction of the country’s own inner cricket league. No doubt the fans, the investors and the players feel much more welcome as they play in their own homeland, but to what extent is this process disruptive?  

While we should be celebrating the fact that live entertainment and sport has returned to the nation, we should see the effect it has had on the people that have been caught up in the flurry and excitement of it all.  

One of the major stakeholders that need to be taken into consideration today are the students, faculty and staff of Forman Christian College and University, or as the common name, FC College. The university is located on Canal Road, close to Gaddafi stadium and is one of the areas within Lahore where people suffer the most during the cricket matches. Roadblocks are placed on service road and in the vicinity and it is difficult if not near impossible for people to go in and out of the university during the matches, unless they are watching the match.  

The government forces the university to give up its parking for the viewers of the cricket matches. This usually means that while other academic institutions are functioning within the city, FC College is forced to be shut, because the parking lots cannot accommodate students, faculty and the PSL goers. Due to this process of the university being shut within the days, the academic proceedings are interrupted and both faculty and students have to struggle to maintain a routine and complete the curriculum on time.  

In 2017, after a mass petition by students and faculty alike collected over one thousand signatures in two days due to the mass concern of students and administration about preserving the sanctity of FC College as a private institution instead of a parking lot for the government. The decision was spearheaded by the (now former) Dean of Student Affairs, Ms. Cheryl Burke who did not wish for college grounds to be used as such.  

Unfortunately, no such action was accepted by the government this time around either which has resulted in the university being closed on the following dates; 

Friday, 21st February  

Tuesday, 3rd March  

Wednesday 4th March  

Friday 6th March  

Tuesday 10th March  

Wednesday 11th March  

Wednesday 18th March  

Friday 20th March  

Some of the people most affected by this are the students who reside on campus in hostels such as Shirazi Hall, West Hall and Hope Tower, which is the only girl’s hostel. Students cannot order food due to the roadblocks and feel trapped inside the hostel due to the limited freedom they possess. Most of them are forced to either travel home or shift to the homes of local guardians.  

There seem to be future plans about the government using not just the parking lot but the main grounds of the university as parking space as well. Most students have expressed disdain over the idea of having to give up both education hours and parking space despite being enrolled in a private university, with a tuition fee that speaks for it.  

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