Spy agencies men grill principal of Edwardes College

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Officials of the secret agencies on Tuesday conducted a raid on the residence of the Principal Edwardes College Peshawar, Titus Presler to check some legal complications in his travelling documents and make inquiries about his alleged dubious activities, reliable sources said.

The officials in plainclothes reached the principal’s house located in the premises of historic Edwardes College in two vehicles around noon and took the surroundings in control, according to an eyewitness. Some of them interrogated the principal for about 30 minutes before leaving. The sources said the principal was asked to leave the country by a certain time. It wasn’t clear how much time he was given to leave Pakistan.

After the appointment of Titus Presler, a US national, as principal in May 2011, a number of controversies emerged in the Edwardes College, which has been one of the best seats of learning in the province since its establishment in 1900.

Serious questions were raised about his activities in the past and the authorities reportedly deported him in November 2011. However, he continued to serve as principal of the institution from abroad. It caused problems in the smooth running of the Edwardes College.

One of the serious controversies that emerged during this period was granting the degree awarding status to the college, which according to sources was a bid to free the institution for the control of the powerful Board of Governors headed by Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and putting it under the charge of the Diocese of Peshawar. This move was strongly resisted by all and sundry. There were also allegations of financial mismanagement in the institution.

The sources argued that the academic policies of the principal also turned out to be a complete failure and this was the reason that the college gave the worst results in the higher secondary school certificate examination last year. During the last two years, the teachers at the college suffered from uncertainty as there was none to solve the routine problems faced by them like promotions, accommodation and pension.

Also, there is a big question mark on the qualification and experience of Titus Presler, who according to sources didn’t qualify for the prestigious office.

“His qualification in Christian Theology would not entitle him to teach even in the State secondary institutions in the USA where religious and secular subjects are rigidly separated. The positions held by him in theological seminaries aren’t acceptable in mainstream educational institutions in the same manner like the madrassas in Pakistan. The main thrust of Presler’s theological research is in Christian missiology, which is traditionally about how to win converts to the Christian faith from other religions,” said one source.

The sources said that Titus Presler was a friend of former Bishop Munawwar Ramal Shah and he managed to appoint him as principal at a time when no other foreigner was willing to come to Peshawar.

The sources said that after his appointment as principal, he was made a priest in Peshawar and besides his duties in the college he used to perform religious services at the All Saints Church in Peshawar that suffered a deadly suicide blast in September this year.

It was after the Church attack that he managed to get a visit visa for Pakistan and returned to the country in November last. However, on his arrival in Peshawar he also joined his office without having proper travel documents and work permit, the sources said.

The Board of Governors of the college in its meeting on November 5, 2013 constituted a high-powered inquiry committee under advisor to chief minister on higher education Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani to look into the problems of the college and submit a report to the governor at the earliest. The committee is, however, yet to submit its report, the sources said.

Source: The News.