MULTAN: Scores of parents of students at public schools on Sunday staged a demonstration, urging the provincial government to guarantee their children’s safety at campuses.
Rallies were held at Multan Press Club, Bosan Road and Chungi 9 with nearly 400 participants.
The parents, mostly of primary school children, said many private schools had upgraded their security arrangements according to the guidelines issued by the government.
Rashida Naureen, a mother of two girls, told The Express Tribune that deputing one security guard lacking firearms training was not enough to protect hundreds of young children studying at public schools.
“The government should assure us that our children will be safe at schools,” she said. She said the government had decided to reopen schools under pressure from the private schools’ lobby.
Rakhshanda Hussain said the government should only re-open schools after parents were satisfied with the security arrangements.
“Our government officials have dozens of guards around their housing colonies and at their service,” she said. “Why aren’t those resources used to protect the real assets of the country?”
She said there should be a centralised system to monitor schools security.
The demonstrators were carrying posters and banners against demanding guarantees and assurances from the provincial government.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Education EDO Shamsher Khan said Multan was ready to reopen schools.
He said watchmen had been hired for 1,406 schools in the district.
He said 145 schools had been included in the A-plus category, which had been declared most sensitive. He said security had been heightened at their campuses.
He said 818 schools had been provided metal detectors.
He said the district government had also approved provision of weapons licenses to private schools if they applied for it. He said schools that had not met the security checklist would not be allowed to open – whether private or public. He said the government was taking the security threat very seriously and would not jeopardise lives of students.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2015.