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QUETTA: The All Balochistan Progressive Private Schools’ Association said here on Sunday that the authorities had failed to track down the elements responsible for closure of private schools in Panjgur district.

The association’s president Haneef Khundi said while addressing a press conference along with its Panjgur chapter office-bearers Zahid Hussain and Abdul Latif that they would not give in to the elements who were out to forbid girls’ education in the district.

They said the private schools had been contributing in Panjgur since the 1990s and their number had grown to 35, including English language centres, but a hitherto unknown organisation, Tanzeem Islami Al Furqan, had ransacked three schools, set a school van on fire and manhandled teachers and other staff to stop girls’ education.

They said people from every segment of the society had taken to the streets in protest against the incidents and the move to deprive girls of education.

They said over 25,000 children were getting education from the schools and language centres that employed hundreds of teachers besides around 200 vans for picking and dropping them.

The representatives of the association said all the telephone numbers which were being used to threaten the schools’ owners and teachers had been given to the administration, but in vain.

Instead of tracking down the handful activists of the unknown group, the administration had been insisting to provide security to the school buildings and vans, they said.

“Police or Levies guards at school buildings or in vans are not the solution to the problem because the owners, teachers and staff members can be attacked anytime and anywhere in the area,” they pointed out.

They said that the government with its huge machinery comprising security forces and intelligence units should track down the elements responsible for the attacks and threats so that the schools might resume their educational activities without any fear.

It was not possible for them to reopen their schools and put the lives of thousands of students and teachers in danger unless the culprits were arrested, they said.

Teachers from Panjgur said that the press had raised the issue of the closure of schools but the TV channels had not given importance to the matter related to girls’ education.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2014