PESHAWAR: The fate of Cadet College Razmak in volatile North Waziristan remained uncertain as the government again decided to keep it closed till September 24 following a protest on Sunday by the terrified students in Bannu against insecurity and frequent missile attacks on their institution, official sources said.
The sources said that senior government functionaries and military authorities were thinking of closing the college and shifting it to a safer place downtown due to security concerns in North Waziristan. Founded by late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1978, the Cadet College is located in a military compound in the picturesque Razmak Valley close to the boundary with South Waziristan where military officials said the militants hiding in the mountains have been firing rockets and missiles at the military installations.
In recent months, the militants fired a number of rockets and missiles and some landed inside the college premises causing damage to the laboratory and offices. This caused concern among the military authorities and officials of the political administration, who closed the college on August 10.
It was supposed to reopen on September 12 and the students were directed to ensure their presence in classes. Around 200 students of the college, who were being transported in a military convoy to the remote Razmak town, learnt that the security situation was still unsatisfactory in the area and refused to go there.
They staged a protest in Bannu and demanded the government to shift the college from North Waziristan to a safer place. The students complained that they always felt threatened in Razmak due to frequent attacks of rockets and missiles on their campus from the nearby mountains.
They said they would not be able to focus on their studies in the prevailing uncertain situation. It was decided later to keep the college closed till September 24 and the students were asked to go home. Later, Assistant Political Agent, Razmak, Abidullah Shah called a meeting of the peace committee members comprising local tribal elders and ulema and directed them to hold an emergency meeting with Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the North Waziristan Taliban chief, to use his influence over the Mahsud militants to stop rocket and missile attacks on Razmak. He said Hafiz Gul Bahadur should inform the Mahsud Taliban that he and the tribal elders in North Waziristan had signed peace accord with the government and attacking government and military installations meant that they did not want the people to live in peace.
The assistant political agent pointed out that the government would have no option to shift the college from Razmak if the attacks by the militants on the town did not stop. The sources said the militants on Saturday fired rockets at the military compound and hit the building of the government school in Razmak where military authorities had stored 10,000 litres petrol. It caused fire and the entire building was reduced to ashes.
The cadet college remained shut for three years after the late TTP founder Baitullah Mahsud and his men in May 2009 kidnapped 48 people including 46 cadets and two teachers from Bakkakhel area of Frontier Region Bannu. The college administration had to rent private buildings in Peshawar to hold classes for three years for the students outside Razmak.The news.