The district administration of Gilgit has made it mandatory for public and private schools to raise the height of their boundary walls and install barbed wire on them to avert terrorist attacks.
DC Muhammad Hamza Salik issued the directives on Wednesday at a meeting held in Gilgit with principals of private and government-run educational institutes. Officials of the education department and superintendent police were also present on the occasion.
Salik told the participants the additional security measures were mandatory as per the directives issued under the National Action Plan devised by the federal government in the wake of the horrific December 16, 2014 Army Public School Peshawar tragedy. As many as 151 people, most of them schoolchildren, died that fateful day when militants armed to the teeth climbed the school’s back wall and laid siege to the building for several hours.
Representatives of 142 public and 140 private schools attended the meeting which sought to implement NAP. “The minimum height of boundary wall of each institution should be at least eight feet high with barbed wire on top of it,” Salik told the moot.
The school managements were also asked to nominate at least one staffer for training conducted by the police. The trained staff members will be deployed at main gates to deal with an untoward incident if it arises.
However, according to insiders, the meeting’s participants, especially private school representatives, expressed reservations over the security measures citing the availability of funds.
“This decision is going to be hard on us as we lack funds. It is the responsibility of the government and security agencies to provide security to all schools,” said a private school principal while speaking to The Express Tribune.
Chief secretary transferred
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Sultan Sikandar Raja has been transferred to the Cabinet Division in Islamabad. He has been replaced by Tahir Hussain, a joint secretary at Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council Secretariat. Raja’s transfer has come a couple of months ahead of the G-B legislative elections which will be held on June 8.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2015.