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January 13, 2015

Educational institutions reopen in Peshawar, elsewhere


January 13, 2015

PESHAWAR: Almost all the educational institutions in the provincial metropolis and elsewhere in the province reopened on Monday after the long winter vacation but no action could be taken against the private schools that had not acquired security clearance as conditioned by the provincial government.
Strict security had, however, been put in place in the provincial capital. Police contingents were deployed on all the major educational institutions and other sensitive locations. The rapid response force was also put on high alert to meet any eventuality.
The provincial government had repeatedly made commitments that a stern action would be taken against all the institutions, which failed to meet the security requirements and get security clearance from local administration. The security clearance was compulsory for the private institutions. But the owners of the private schools had reservations about the security guidelines. They had expressed their inability to meet all the requirements.
The process of getting security clearance was also not that easy to be acquired in a few days. This generated uncertainty about the schools’ reopening. The private institutions reopen amid fears of action.
But, police teams continued to visit the schools and inspected their security arrangements. They either issued them clearance or a set deadline to fulfill the security arrangements within one week.
The schools which had not made any security arrangements were asked to submit an affidavit with the assistant commissioner with the assurance that they would take security measures within one week. But management of most of the private school – the smaller ones – were not ready to submit the affidavit even.
One of the school owners said that he didn’t get the security clearance but he was not asked to close the school. “They asked me to submit affidavit with the assistant commissioner. But my school does not have huge enrollment. Its building is safe.

It’s boundary wall is high and it’s well-protected from all the sides. Why should I assure the authorities of doing something that is beyond my capacity,” said one such principal.
Attendance at most of the schools was thin partly due to security reasons and mainly because most of the students remained absent on the first day after long vacations.
The gory incident of the Army Public also discouraged some parents to avoid sending kids to schools on the maiden day after holidays. “I have three kids. My wife sent one of them to school, who was having paper today. The remaining two stayed home. Soon after my son departed for the school, my wife started reciting verses from Holy Quran and praying for safety of my son and other schoolkids,” said Altafullah, a parent.
Provincial ministers also visited different schools to check security arrangements and encourage the students and staff members. Education Minister Mohammad Atif Khan visited a number of schools and colleges and he was satisfied over the security arrangements made there.
“I visited three schools and the Frontier College for Women. Enough security measures were taken in the schools,” he told The News, when reached by telephone. Asked about action if taken against any delinquent school, he said it could not be known on the day one of the schools’ reopening. But if any school face specific threats and it is located in a risky area, it would have to make the security arrangements or else action would be taken against it, he said.
He said that most of the government institutions have taken necessary security measures and others were making the arrangements. The authorities were also pressing the private institutions to improve their security, he added.
Finance Minister Muzaffar Said also visited several schools in the Peshawar cantonment and city areas. He also inspected security measures.Our correspondent in Charsadda adds: All education institutions reopened on Monday in the district after the winter vacations amid stringent security arrangements.
Law enforcers and private security guards were deployed in and around the schools buildings. The administration of most of the schools had also installed close circuit television cameras (CCTV) to keep a check on any suspected person and suspicious activity.
The officials of the district administration and police visited various schools to review the security arrangements However, the administration of the Bacha Khan University Charsadda had extended the winter vacation..

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