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School set on fire in Kech district

Updated September 03, 2014

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- File photo
- File photo

QUETTA/GWADAR: Some armed religious fanatics of a hitherto unknown Al Jihad organisation set a private English medium school on fire in Turbat area of the Kech district on Tuesday.

They also left pamphlets with the name of Al Jihad in the school and in the area, warning the people of Balnigore to desist from sending their children to English medium schools to study English or risk unspecified repercussions.

“People should not send their children to schools or English language centres for studying English,” warned the pamphlet. It asked people to send their children only to madressahs to get religious education.

Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch ordered officials concerned to take steps to ensure security to all schools, language centres, students, their parents and teachers.

Official sources told Dawn that the incident took place in Balnigore area of the district on Monday night when these terrorists barged into the school premises, overpowered the watchman and set the building on fire.

The principal, Jamal Ahmed, told Dawn that 200 girls and boys study in the school

“I had been receiving threats from unknown people for the past eight months, but despite these threats we continued classes,” he said.

He said that all books in a library, furniture and computers were gutted, forcing the administration to close the school for the time being.

“A portion of the school, books, furniture and computers were gutted in the huge fire,” Abdullah Khoso, Assistant Commissioner of Turbat, told Dawn, adding that the school building was also damaged in the fire.

“It was the first incident of burning of any private English medium school in Kech district,” Mr Khoso said.

Several private English medium schools and language centres were attacked in Panjgur district In May this year, by unknown armed men and an organisation, known as Al Furqan Al Islami, had claimed responsibility for these attacks.

Owners and the administration of these private schools had been asked by the organisation to stop educating girls in their institutions. Parents were also warned against sending their daughters to private schools and English language centres.

Armed men had attacked four private schools and set fire to vehicles carrying girls to these institutions.

Around two dozen private English medium schools and language centres had remained closed for three months in Panjgur district and reopened only last month after the government assured private school managements of full security.

A school was attacked and set on fire in Panjgur a few days ago by unknown armed men. However, the school administration and the private school association refused to close their institutions.

Official sources in Turbat said that it was the first incident of burning of any private school in the Kech district.

“All possible efforts will be made to provide security to all private schools in Kech district. Around a dozen private schools are in the district,” an official said, adding that the private school association had announced that they would not close their schools and resist these elements’ conspiracy to keep the people ignorant and uneducated.

The principal of the school, Jamal Ahmed, told Dawn that 200 girls and boys were studying in the school

“I had been receiving threats from unknown people for the past eight months but despite these threats we continued classes,” he said.

He said that all books in a library, furniture and computers were gutted, forcing the administration to close the school for the time being.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2014