PESHAWAR: The principal of a government high school in Pastawana, Frontier Region (FR) Peshawar was executed by the Taliban allegedly on Saturday night.
Residents told The Express Tribune dozens of heavily armed militants entered the house of Headmaster Haji Rehman and opened fire at him, killing him on the spot.
It was not clear why the man was targeted but according to locals Rehman had developed differences with the militants which eventually led to his death. “In all probability he was considered pro-government by the Taliban and that’s why he was killed in cold blood,” said an elder on the condition of anonymity.
This is the first incident of its kind in which a government servant other than a khasadar or levy personnel has been targeted. On December 30, the militants had killed at least 20 levies men in cold blood after kidnapping them a few days earlier in FR Peshawar.
The situation had improved greatly when the security forces were deployed in Hasan Khel, FR Peshawar two months before the 2013 elections.
The volatile security situation now has forced locals, especially the maliks to flee the area for their own safety.
‘Co-education violates religious law’
In another development against education, the Taliban have threatened schools with co-education in Frontier Region (FR) Peshawar and the adjacent Sherakera area. The militants demand people send their daughters to religious seminaries as opposed to schools catering to both sexes.
Locals told The Express Tribune the militants claim the co-education system was against sharia laws. School owners have been asked to reject the ‘banned’ education system.
“They came to my residence at night and told me they were my guests,” said a local school owner on the condition of anonymity. The armed men politely told him educating boys and girls together is against Islamic laws, and asked him to stop doing so.
“I run a secondary school in Sherakera for girls and boys,” explained the school owner, adding he was able to convince the men to allow him to continue running the school as FSc exams were currently underway.
“I am planning to establish the girls section in a separate building and will call it a ‘madrassa’”
According to an elder, owners, fearing the militants, had shut down their schools in Hasan Khel and other parts of FR Peshawar yet again.
“There was a school in Hasan Khel with 350 female students which was closed by the owner following threats from militants,” noted the elder. “It was reopened after security forces were deployed in the area but now the owners have closed schools down again.”
“There is widespread panic among locals and most people have fled to Peshawar for the safety of their children and families,” he added.
Since militants have resumed their activities in the area, “Many people have fled and now work in Karachi,” explained the elder.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2013.