The attack on a girls’ school in Rawalpindi by seminary students echoed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, but Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the ruling party in Punjab and opposition in the parliament, did not denounce the incident.
However, Speaker Fahmida Mirza condemned the attack by the ‘moral brigade’ at Municipal Committee’s Model High School for Girls in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi last Friday. She sought complete record of the tragic incident and urged the Punjab government to take notice of the incident.
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Around 60 masked men carrying iron rods barged into a girls’ school in Rawalpindi on Friday and thrashed students and female teachers, pressing them to “dress modestly and wear hijabs”. The police refused to register an FIR. A police official of the New Town Police Station, requesting anonymity, said that they were under “strict instructions to do nothing”.
The Speaker constituted an inquiry committee under Khurshid Shah, a senior politician of the Pakistan People Party (PPP), to collect the facts about the terror incident. The lawmakers were told that Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, wrote a letter to the District Coordinator Officer Rawalpindi on the issue and sought his response to why the police did not register a criminal case against the culprits.
MNA Shahnaz Wazir Ali termed the barbaric incident a “shameful action”. She said that Rawalpindi is the third largest city of the Punjab where this incident happened but it was “awful” that no inquiry into the matter was conducted by relevant authorities so far. “If we could not protect our daughters, then it is meaningless to talk about constitution,” she said.
Fouzia Habib, another PPP MNA, said, “Rawalpindi is my city and it is horrible to hear that such a terrible operation was conducted against hundreds of minor school girls.”
Earlier, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the New Town Police Station, Ijaz Hussain Shah, justified the assault by saying that it was not an offence as the masked men were protesting the conviction of the assassin of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. “They also attacked other educational institutions,” he insisted.
SHO Shah did not make any comment on why the police were reluctant to take any action against the seminary students who were involved in the attack on the school.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011.
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