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February 16, 2016

Terror-hit Bacha Khan University reopens after 26-day closure

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February 16, 2016

CHARSADDA: The Bacha Khan University reopened on Monday amid tight security after its closure for 26 days in the wake of a terrorist attack on January 20 in which 21 students and officials were killed.

The university administration, headed by Vice Chancellor Fazlur Rahim Marwat, welcomed the students at the university entrance. Students and the principal of the Muslim Public School in Charsadda were also present, who presented bouquets to students who returned to the university to resume their studies.

Provincial president National Youth Organisation Sangeen Khan, senior vice-president Gulzar Khan, general secretary Hassan Buneri, women’s wing president Palwasha Abbas, cultural secretary Sana Ijaz and local notables were also present to welcome the students.

Portraits of the martyred students and staff members were displayed at various points in and around the university.Talking to reporters, Vice Chancellor Fazlur Rahim Marwat said that a team of psychologists would organise a camp at the university to help students and teachers overcome the attack-related stress. He asked the government to announce a special grant for the university and a compensation package on par with the one given to the families of the martyrs of the Army Public School in Peshawar.

The spokesperson for the university, Saeed Khan Khalil, told reporters that the university had reopened after clearance from the police. He said boundary walls had been raised, watch towers had been established and retired soldiers and female commandos had been recruited for the security of campus.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Mushtaq Ghani also visited the university and held a meeting with the vice-chancellor after inspecting the security situation.Talking to reporters, he said that a judicial inquiry was under way. He added that anyone found guilty would face punishment. Mushtaq Ghani said the government had provided security to all universities, adding the security of students and teachers was the responsibility of the government.

Lauding the sacrifices of people, he said the Pakhtuns were brave people and a handful of terrorists couldn’t intimidate or frighten them.“Reopening of the university after the tragic incident is a sign that the nation will continue efforts for prosperity and development,” he added.

Meanwhile, members of civil society and students staged a protest outside the university, demanding a judicial inquiry and making the facts public.Speaking on the occasion, general secretary of the APS Shuhada Forum, Ayub Khan, student leaders of the Bacha Khan University and others criticised the federal government for its apathy towards the sufferings of Pakhtuns. They also criticised the provincial government for not taking concrete steps to expose the people behind the attack even after 26 days.

“The government must constitute an independent commission and expose the hidden hands, both foreign and local, behind the attacks on educational institutions,” a protester said.The protesters warned of holding a protest rally outside the Prime Minister’s House if their demands were not met.

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