Minister Withdraws from Controversial Fee Policy at Aitchison College Amid Scrutiny

minister withdraws from controversial fee policy at aitchison college amid scrutiny

Economic Affairs Minister Ahad Cheema supported the contentious fee policy for Aitchison College students, urging Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman to uphold it. However, he opted out of availing the benefits for his own children, citing a negative campaign against his family.

The controversy unfolded when Aitchison College Principal Michael A. Thompson resigned, alleging interference from the Governor House in college management for about a year.

Reports suggested Thompson resigned in protest after Governor Balighur Rehman granted a three-year leave of absence and a complete fee waiver for Cheema’s two children.

Sources claimed Rehman’s fee waiver order was lawful and aimed to assist parents relocating from the city due to valid reasons.

Cheema defended the governor’s decision, stating it was a general policy applicable to all, especially civil servants facing transfer-related challenges. He highlighted that the college board approved the policy, including fee waivers for affected families.

In a letter to Governor Rehman, Cheema supported the new policy, deeming it fair and against elitist norms. However, he withdrew his family’s application due to the backlash they faced.

Cheema criticized Principal Thompson’s refusal to abide by the board’s decisions and accused him of orchestrating unnecessary controversy.

Additionally, the Aitchison College Old Boys Association protested outside the Governor House, demanding the principal’s reinstatement and Cheema’s sons’ expulsion.

Saima Ahad Cheema, the minister’s wife, had sought fee waivers for their children, citing her transfer as a civil servant. Governor Rehman granted her request, withdrawing previous orders demanding full tuition fees.

The incident sparked discussions on corporate governance norms and raised concerns among stakeholders about the college’s reputation.

Cheema’s withdrawal reflects a broader debate on fair policies and governance in educational institutions.