Injury in church attack won't slow restoration of college

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2002

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Executives of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved plans Monday to restore church ownership of Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, the day after the school's academic dean was severely wounded in an Islamabad church bombing.

Christy Munir suffered shrapnel wounds and a broken leg but was in stable condition and expected to recover fully, Presbyterian News Service reported.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a graduate of Forman, will join the Oct. 5 ceremony marking Forman's return to operation by the Church of Pakistan, Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and U.S. Presbyterians.

Forman, founded in 1866, was nationalized by Pakistan in 1972 along with the nation's only other Christian college, Gordon College in Rawalpindi. Ten secondary schools, also seized, have recently been returned to private auspices, and Protestants hope to reclaim Gordon eventually.

The Rev. Will Browne of U.S. Presbyterians' Worldwide Ministries Division said ''it's hard to overestimate how important the recovery of Forman Christian College is to the Christian community in Pakistan; this is almost a survival issue for them.''

Forman, which enrolls 4,000 students, will now follow an American-style curriculum and focus on ''critical thinking rather than on rote memorization, which is the traditional Pakistani model,'' Browne said.

The college's new church-led board named as president the Rev. Duncan Ferguson, a former higher education official with U.S. Presbyterians who is now in Pakistan.

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