Karachi: Parents have demanded more security in and around schools, as educational institutes reopened here on Monday after prolonged winter vacations.
Students Monday morning attended their schools after winter vacations that were lengthened for 10 more days due to security concerns. A few schools where the security measures were still not complete are to be opened in a couple of days.
Some private educational schools have erected taller boundary walls and hired private guards; however, in government schools generally no improvement was seen in security arrangements, saving that their gates were manned by Chowkidars. At some schools presence of police was also noted. However, parents have demanded more security in and around schools.
Parents are concerned about illegal bus stands near schools, especially in Saddar, Empress Market area, where the biggest illegal bus terminal for inter-city transport operates with full impunity. The presence of encroachments, pushcart vendors and hawkers near school premises is a serious concern for parents, teachers and students. However, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) lack capacity and will to remove illegal encroachments from the city streets. Sadly, illegal bus terminals and encroachments near schools are also witnessed in areas administrated by some cantonment boards, which need to be removed on priority basis.
Nizar Merchant, a trader, said he is extremely concerned about the security of his children. He said he is considering to arrange private transport for his children instead of school van. He said the government should also arrange security on school vans which may be soft target of terrorists.
Mrs Shahid Khaid, whose son goes to a private school, in Banori Town area said today when she left his son to school she was happy to saw presence of rangers in the vicinity. She said like her many other anxious mothers want better security of their children when they are at their educational institutions. She urged police and rangers to take utmost efforts for security of schools.
Mrs Nawaz says her children attend a private school in Gulistan e Johar area. She said today when her children left for school she was very much worried about their safety. She said she is considering to transfer her children to a better school. She said almost half of police force and police mobiles are busy in providing security to ministers, MPA and other VIPs. She said if half of the VIP police security is slashed and diverted to schools, many mothers like her would heave a sigh of relief.
Civil society has also demanded better security arrangements around schools. Pasban -e-Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor says Karachi is amongst the cities which are declared sensitive by the government agencies and hence it is the prime duty of the government to increase security around education institutions so that an incident like Peshawar school could not be repeated here. He said school administrations and parents should also take steps to maximize safety of students. He said in our society there is a culture to safeguard the interests of the ruling classes and resultantly the government is more concerned about the security of costly private schools where the children of elite class have been enrolled. He said the “Yellow” government schools where children of working class are enrolled also deserve better security.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sindh chapter amir Dr Merajul Hada Siddiqui said it is the responsibility of the government to provide security to every person and every institutions, but sadly the government is not performing its duties properly. He said the government is pressurizing private schools to arrange barricades, private armed guards, vigilance cameras, boundary walls, etc. He said; however, for 95percent private schools it is not possible to finance such arrangements. He suggested that instead of shifting the responsibility to the private schools the government should provide adequate security to all private and government educational institutions.
However, Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said the provincial government is taking all out efforts to improve security of educational institutions. Visiting schools on different areas of Karachi on Monday morning, he said the schools of Karachi have been divided in different zones according to their security needs. He said O Level, English medium schools, and educational institutions being run by Machineries face more threats. He said security arrangements in the government schools are also being enhanced. He said patrolling of police and rangers has been enhanced in the vicinity of schools. He said the school administrations should also take steps at their level to improve security of their institutions. He said government should soon construct boundary walls in schools that are presently working without proper boundary walls.
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