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CHITRAL: The residents of Baroghil valley have demanded of the government to protect the future of hundreds of students, including girls, saying one high and all five primary schools of Baroghil valley will be closed down next month following the interior ministry’s refusal to extend the no objection certificate to the NGO running them.

Village nazim of Baroghil Amin Jan told a news conference here on Monday that around 700 students were enrolled in the school to be closed down.

He said the valley consisting of seven villages had only one primary school and five primary schools, which were established by NGO Central Asia Institute.

The nazim said the NGO had put up school buildings, provided them with furniture and other facilities, and ensure the presence of teaching and supporting staff there for the provision of free education to the locals.

He said the schools were community-based in nature as the residents were fully empowered to run their affairs.

“The Central Asia Institute is preparing to wind up operation in the valley by the end of the current month and once it leaves, the schools will be closed down due to the termination of teachers,” he said.

The nazim asked the government to either give NOC to the NGO for continue working in the area or hand over schools to the education department and appoint teachers to them.

LAND ISSUES: The civil society organisations have demanded of the government to protect the interests of the residents before finalising the land settlement process in Chitral.

The exercise is nearing completion with a notification for land settlement likely to be issued by June.

The demand was made during a meeting here, where district nazim Maghfirat Shah, MPA Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, leaders of the district bar association, political parties, and civil society organisations were in attendance.

The participants said the people of Chitral would never surrender their collective property to the government as their sustenance largely depended on the pastures covering them. They warned that they would move court if their interests weren’t protected by the government.

“More than 90 percent of Chitral’s land consists of pastures, riverbeds and forests. The locals will face abject poverty if they’re denied land,” a speaker said.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019