PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Authority has rebuilt as many as 179 militancy-hit schools in Malakand Division.
Malakand was one of the most affected areas during Taliban insurgency, with 182 schools – predominantly those for girls – were targetted by extremist militants from 2008 to 20011.
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The Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA), a supporting organisation of PDMA, launched reconstruction work on the militancy-hit schools with financial support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2009 and have so far managed to rebuild 179 out of 182 schools in different districts for both male and female students.
According to PDMA documents available with The Express Tribune, a total 134 schools were destroyed in Swat, 21 in Lower Dir, 7 in Bunner and the remaining in Upper Dir and other areas of the Malakand Division. Out of these schools, 108 were rebuilt under USAID-KP reconstruction programme, according to the documents.
Similarly, around 47 schools were reconstructed under a United Arab Emirates (UAE) assistance programme, 12 under a chief minister’s special package, while another 12 were restructured with the support of different non-profit organisations.
Talking to The Express Tribune, PDMA Media Coordinator Taimur Ali confirmed that work on 179 schools had been completed and the same were handed over to the provincial government. However, he said construction work was underway on remaining 60 militancy and flood-hit schools under USAID assistance “which will complete by June this year”.
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“Besides this, work on Excelsior and Afzal Khan Lala colleges in Swat has been completed and they are now open for study,” the PDMA spokesperson said. He also claimed that seven basic health units and 15 roads [44.7km] were constructed by the organisation in Malakand Division.
Pakistan’s battle against the Taliban insurgency began in 2004 after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan forced militants to flee across the border. Pakistan Army launched an operation in June 2014 to wipe out militant bases in the tribal regions and bring an end to a bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004. It has conducted a series of military offensives as well as concerted efforts to block militants’ sources of funding.