Life under curfew: For Gilgit students, exam hiatus a separate headache

Published: April 15, 2012

Matric exams were indefinitely put off after curfew was declared; students getting anxious. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

GILGIT: 

Matric students, whose exams were interrupted because of curfew imposed in Gilgit after the eruption of sectarian violence 11 days ago, still have no clue when their exams will be held.

Most ninth and 10th graders appearing for their annual examinations had appeared in at least three exam papers before the outbreak of sectarian violence which engulfed the capital city on April 3, leaving nearly 20 people dead and scores of others wounded.

The curfew imposed by the army in an attempt to control an escalation in the violence led to a suspension of the examinations. Life in the city has come to a standstill as people are forced to remain indoors.

The closure of schools and offices has left the students in the dark, as there is no official word on a new schedule for the exams.

“I had taken three exam papers when the riots erupted. I don’t know what will happen next,” said Saad Ahsan, a student at Army Public School.

“We contacted the federal board’s Islamabad office but they don’t have an answer either,” he said.

Hammad Dar, a ninth-grade student of Public School and Colleges Jutial, said he had also appeared in three exam papers before the violence erupted. “I’m worried about the future.

The board must tell us when the exams will be held,” he added.

Attempts to contact the regional federal board office for information about the exams remained unsuccessful as the office was closed.

Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Observer [IHRO] has asked the government to lift the curfew immediately to alleviate the suffering of residents, according to a statement issued on Friday.

“People have been suffering for the past 11 days due to the curfew which has cut off of the region from rest of the country,” read the statement.

The organisation demanded that cellular services be unblocked and restrictions which have adversely affected students and other professionals who are stuck indoors, be lifted at the earliest.

The army operation against militants must continue, but patients suffering from heart and other chronic diseases should be facilitated, stated the IHRO.

“We appeal to the force commander and the interior minister to lift the curfew and restore communications immediately.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2012.

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