Post-Peshawar attack: Around 1,000 school watchmen given arms training

Guards confident of protecting students in case of an attack similar to the one on APS



MINGORA: Determined to ensure children remain safe at school, the local police in Swat trained as many as 1,000 watchmen on the use of weapons on Saturday.

The aim of the exercise was to arm these guards with the capability to tackle any untoward situation that may arise in educational institutes of the scenic valley.

According to the Swat district education office, there are about 1,800 watchmen at government schools. It was stated that all of them were enlisted for a day’s weapons training by the district police.

Swat District Police Officer (DPO) Saleem Marwat supervised the exercise at the shooting range in Kanju area. “We will equip all the school watchmen with the necessary skills to use weapons, apart from teaching them survival tactics in case of an attack,” he told The Express Tribune. The officer added that around 600 watchmen guarding girls’ schools were trained in the first phase.

Marwat assured that the Swat police was in complete coordination with the education department and district administration, adding the force was ready to face any grave situation.

Though some of the watchmen seemed a little uneasy during the shooting drills, they remained confident of their ability to protect the students in the event of a militant assault. “After using the rifle, I feel confident,” said Arkot Government Primary School watchman Alam Khan.“I can claim that the miscreants will not be able to harm my school or the children inside.”

Bachwas Khan, a watchman of GPS Chingarai in Matta tehsil, found the training rather useful and said he not only learnt how to fire a gun, but also handle it safely. “The exercise encouraged me to keep a weapon at school and use it in case of an emergency,” he said. “We will not only save our children and schools from militants, but also deal with such people with an iron fist,” he said.

The K-P government started training teachers and watchmen on the use of firearms in the wake of the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar last year.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2015.

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