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Blast damages buildings of two girls schools

SWAT, Sept 30: Buildings of two girls schools in the Kabal area of Swat were damaged by a powerful blast on Saturday night.

Witnesses told Dawn that militants, who have been targeting women’s educational institutions for a couple of weeks, had planted an explosive device in the Government Girls’ High School, near the Kabal police station, which went off, damaging part of the two-storey building and the wall of the adjacent Government Girls’ Primary School. According to local people, the wall of the Tehsil Mosque was also damaged.

The watchman of the high school had gone for Sehri when the blast took place. He said the blast shattered windowpanes of the buildings.

In different areas of Swat, there has been a surge in recent days in attacks on video and CD shops, hair-cutting salons, internet cafes and girls’ schools. On Sept 9, a missionary institution for women, the Sangota Public School, was closed for a week after it received threats from an organisation called Janesaran-i-Islam, accusing the school administration of propagating Christianity and obscenity.

The same organisation also issued letters to a number of other schools asking students to wear burqa. It said that the English education system was against Islamic teachings and schools should abandon the system.

Following the threats, the education department issued a circular a few days ago, making the wearing of burqa mandatory for girl students.

Recently, a string of explosions damaged some schools, including the Government Girls’ High School in Matta and the Government Girls Primary School in the Bedara area. An explosive device planted in the Government Girls High School in Qambar was defused by police a few days ago.

Students of girls schools are in a state of fear and in some cases people have stopped sending their daughters to schools.
Militants have also been targeting a rock engraved with a historical Buddha image along the road connecting Mingora with the tourist resort of Malam Jabba. They have twice tried to blow up the rock at Buthgarh Jehanabad.

The administration has decided to set up checkpoints at three sensitive places. The posts will be manned jointly by army and police personnel.

A police official said the government had started providing heavy weapons to police. Police have also been given five Armoured Personnel Carriers and four more will be delivered in a few days.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/1/2007

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