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Students from militancy-hit Swat take refuge in Pindi

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Students from militancy-hit Swat take refuge in Pindi
« on: December 31, 2008, 08:03:15 PM »
Students from militancy-hit Swat take refuge in Pindi

Rawalpindi: Seventeen-year-old Asad, a student of class-X, and several of his classmates are temporarily staying in Rawalpindi after fleeing Swat where Maulana Fazlullah's loyalists have threatened to blow up their school.

These students are living in a rented house near Faizabad as they prepare for their annual examinations scheduled for March.

Asad told this reporter that the administration of Swat Public School (SPS), the biggest privately-run educational institution in the valley, was warned by the militants a week ago to close the school otherwise the students would be taken hostage.

Initially, the SPS girls section in Rahimabad, some four kilometers from the main town of Mingora, was closed in the wake of the militant threat, while afterwards the boys section was also locked and educational activities grinded to a halt.

Asad said career of thousands of students in Swat was in jeopardy, as the local authorities have asked the students to leave their schools without giving them any assurance that the institutions would be reopened.

"We urge the higher authorities to play their role in reopening our schools as institutions in other cities do not admit us at this stage. Our academic career and lives are at risk in Swat," Asad said.

He said the local Taliban were distributing pamphlets in schools, warning the students to boycott the existing system of education as it was spreading secular agenda.

According to Asad, teenage girls were being asked by militants to marry supporters of Maulana Fazlullah.

"One day a group of Taliban intercepted us at recess time and asked a 14-year-old girl of our school to marry Jihadis when she turns 18," another student Fahim said, adding that when they protested, the militants aimed their guns at them and ordered to tender an apology in Arabic language.

Militant attacks on educational institutions in Swat have triggered closure of schools and the frightened students are fleeing the restive area

The students are now seeking admission to other schools, however, they are being rejected as these days the academic session is nearing its end. Dawn