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Destruction of Swat schools condemned

By Marium Kiani
ISLAMABAD, Jan 29: Speakers at a seminar here on Thursday condemned in the strongest possible terms the torching and bombing of girl schools in Swat that was depriving thousands of education facilities.

They urged for a nonviolent solution of the conflict that has created chaos in the valley.

They were speaking at a seminar on “Back to Stone Age: No education for girls in Swat!”, organized by South Asian Women in Media (Swam).

The speakers said that the matter was of serious and immediate concern since not only it was depriving children of their right to education but was also affecting the image of the country.

During the violent activities in the valley, the suspected militants used destruction of girl schools as an effective tool to bring the government to its knees, while reversing the process the progress of the district.

According to estimates, the relentless terrorist acts rendered about 131 girl schools out of 571 non-functional, putting an end to the education of 17,200 girls. The schools destroyed include four government girls’ higher secondary schools, 22 high schools, 51 middle schools and 489 primary schools.On the other hand, out of a total 1,144 boy schools of the region 22 have been destroyed putting an end to education of about 6,298 boys.

The speakers called upon the government to resolve the issue in a nonviolent manner by involving the locals in the process. Winning the sentiments of affected people at this very time was suggested as the only possible solution of the problem.

They regretted that the current government was also helpless spectator of the too frequent violence against the locals who were being deprived of their fundamental right to education, health etc.

Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, while commenting on the situation said, “the government was losing sympathies of the local communities due to collateral damage by the security forces”.

She further said that, bridging the gap between government and local communities was necessary if bringing back peace in the district was to be achieved.

Prominent among the participants were Syed Mumtaz Alam Gilani, Federal Minister for Human Rights, and Muhammad Safdar, Member National Assembly.

APP ADS: The speakers called for sending a senators’ delegation to Swat for finding a practical resolution to the issue.

Describing Swat as Switzerland and fruit basket of the country, the speakers emphasized that the delegation comprising senators should visit Swat and other adjoining affected areas for holding talks with the people of the area to resolve the issue in a better way.

They alleged that NWFP was being discriminated as compared to other provinces as the issues of the province were not dealt with an iron hand and often left pending.

They stressed equal rights for NWFP so that it could be uniform in all respects.

Human Rights Minister Syed Mumtaz Alam Gilani said on the occasion that both PPP and PML-N should be united towards a comprehensive solution of Swat issue.

Capt Muhammad Safdar said that the government should focus on resolving burning issues like Swat, Fata etc., rather wasting energy and time on petty issues like renaming of the province. The people of NWFP should be given full participation in country affairs, he said.
Source: Dawn

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