PESHAWAR: The Army Public School (APS), Peshawar, is set to reopen today (Monday) with students still recounting the heart-rending events they have gone through in the wake of Dec 16 terrorist attack.
All other educational institutions across the province will also reopen today amid tight security arrangements, but that will be subject to provision of no objection certificate (NOC) by the respective district administration. In view of the militant attack on APS, in which 150 students and staff members were killed, the worried parents in the province have apprehensions about safety of their school-going children.
Many students of APS will miss their class fellows, while many will wait for their desk fellows to come and sit with them.
“I have yet to decide whether to send my remaining son to the school or not,” Tufail Khattak told Dawn. Mr Khattak lost his son Sher Shah, a student of grade-10, in the Dec 16 attack on APS while his other son Ahmed Shah, a student of grade-8, had luckily survived. “His (Ahmed Shah) mother is not in favour of sending him to the school,” he said, adding that she was still in deep shock and had yet to come to terms with the tragic death of her son.
Sharing the feeling of Ahmed Shah with this scribe, Mr Khattak said that his son was bold enough that he was willing to continue his education and ready to go to the school. “However, my son says that it will be very difficult situation for him to sit in the classroom without his friends, who lost their lives in the barbaric attack,” Mr Khattak said.
Like his martyred brother, Ahmed Shah was very a courageous boy, but his mother was very worried about his safety because ‘now he is our only son’, said Mr Khattak.
About the security arrangements of educational institutions in Peshawar, deputy commissioner, Peshawar, Zaheerul Islam told Dawn that security guidelines had been issued to 2,500 educational institutions in the district. He said that he had formed 10 teams for observing the security arrangements. For reopening of the schools, colleges and universities, obtaining a no objection certificate from the district administration was necessary, he said.
Mr Islam said that registration of schools reopening without NOC from the district administration would be cancelled. He said that such schools would be responsible for any mishap and FIR would be registered against the headmaster.
When contacted, SSP Dr Mian Mohammad Saeed told Dawn that officials of different police stations had inspected 1,440 schools in Peshawar. Of them, only 118 schools were given NOC, he said. Security arrangements at 1,380 schools are not satisfactory, he said, adding that such schools had been issued a security advisory.
Besides, the SSP said that police would be on high alert from early morning till the end of school hours. All the police mobile vans would be moving on roads to ensure security to the schools, he said.
Published in Dawn January 12th , 2014