After the massacre: Private schools in Shabqadar closed down, again

After opening for two days, police ordered administrations to shutdown for security.


Mureeb Mohmand January 01, 2015
A search operation has been ongoing in the Sro Kali area of Shabqadar on the Mohmand-Charsadda border for three days, resulting in the arrest of 18 suspects. A police official in Sro Kali said most of them were released after interrogation. PHOTO: AFP

SHABQADAR:


Private schools in Shabqadar were forced to close their doors on Wednesday after only being open for two days after police ordered school administrations to shutdown in view of security threats.


The dilemma of reopening schools continues after the attack on Army Public School on December 16, 2014 in Peshawar.

Educational institutes in Shabqadar opened on Monday after a private school association announcement earlier. Private School Association Shabqadar President Aftab Mohmand told The Express Tribune they have changed their previous decision after the police  ordered to close schools again.



Even when schools started on Monday, half of the students were absent, said Mohmand.

Children could not be informed by the administration on time and assumed their schools would open along with the rest in the area, which are still closed, added Mohmand. “This is why attendance was less than usual.”

Regardless of the given dates, most locals remain concerned about sending their children to schools.

Mohib Ali Khan, a resident, said the government should first ensure the safety of schools as administrations of some are not aware of the severity of the situation. He said he sent his children to school when it opened but remained worried for
their safety.

Education first

Contrary to the concerns of those like Mohib, some locals believe schools should open so that students catch up with their exam prep.

When asked, a school principal said, “We cannot remain in fear and let students suffer during the annual exam season.”

Requesting anonymity, the principal added, “Any further extension [of holidays] can also create a sense of insecurity among students, and the government needs to take steps to ensure safety rather than closing down schools.”



According to Shabqadar Circle police official Abdul Rasheed Khan, the decision to reclose schools was taken due reasons. “Shabqadar is a very sensitive area where previously 30 public and private schools had been targeted in bomb blasts; no risks can be taken.”

Therefore, the government has closed schools so administrations have time to make security arrangements before the next date for their opening is announced,  he added.

A police source said the vulnerability of Shabqadar can be gauged by the decision to deploy security in schools even at night.

Being such a sensitive town, Shabqadar should have tighter security arrangements especially now when educational institutes all over the country are said to be vulnerable.

A search operation has been ongoing in the Sro Kali area of Shabqadar on the Mohmand-Charsadda border for three days, resulting in the arrest of 18 suspects. A police official in Sro Kali said most of them were released after interrogation.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2014.

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