Martyrs for peace: ‘Reopening schools a strong message to militants’

JI Ameer Sirajul Haq urges govt to resume activities at educational institutes.


CM Pervez Khattak and JI Ameer Sirajul Haq speak at a conference arranged by JI at Nishtar Hall. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR:


Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq urged the government to re-open schools in the province.


Speaking at the ‘Martyrs for peace’ conference arranged by his party at Nishtar Hall to pay tribute to victims of the ruthless attack on Army Public School (APS), Siraj raised the spectre of the US bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to encourage the government to open schools across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“When bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the government only closed schools for a month,” said the JI chief. “If I was the prime minister, I would have immediately opened APS and gone to teach the students myself.”



According to Siraj, this would have sent a powerful message to the militants and provided the nation with a beacon of hope during its darkest hours.

The JI chief declared Peshawar as the “city of the brave” and urged the government to confer the Nishan-e-Haider on teachers and children who lost their lives in the APS massacre. Moreover, he insisted security measures should be beefed up in the city.

“The city has been under attack since the 1980s and needs to be protected,” Siraj added.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami chief Maulana Samiul Haq, CM Pervez Khattak, ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain and leaders from various political parties also spoke at the conference.

Security dynamic

Khattak maintained militancy has posed a major security threat and can only be eliminated if the country stands united.

He also urged the federal government to expel illegal Afghan refugees and provide a timeframe to repatriate refugees who are living in the country legally.

The chief minister flayed the federal government for not giving a single penny to the K-P government to make provisions for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“We are spending between Rs350 million to Rs400 million every month on the IDPs.”

He reiterated his government has asked the federal government to return the Frontier Constabulary (FC) to its traditional role of guarding the border with tribal areas and K-P.

According to Khattak, the K-P police and armed forces are conducting joint operations against terrorists and sharing intelligence but the government cannot singlehandedly guard 28,000 schools of the province.

“Under a new legislation, whoever rents homes to terrorists will be considered their accomplice,” he added.

Cracking down

“Action will be taken against any seminaries who are involved in terrorist activities,” he said.



CM Pervez Khattak and JI Ameer Sirajul Haq speak at a conference arranged by JI at Nishtar Hall. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS



Speaking on the occasion, ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain said no distinction should be made between good and bad terrorists.

“If the government continues to make this distinction, terrorists will continue to wreak havoc and attack girls schools and women teachers in the province,” he said.

According to Hussain, strict action should be taken against terrorists in Punjab as a large number of training centres for militants are operating from the province.

Maulana Samiul Haq insisted religious seminaries have nothing to do with terrorism.

JUI-F K-P chief Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan maintained that instead of holding government and security agencies responsible for the APS massacre, religious seminaries were being blamed for the attack.

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

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