O level exams held amidst tension
Karachi, Oct 19: O level exams were held on Thursday amidst tension and fear, as
students appearing in the Statistics paper were shifted to different hotels
nearer to their venue to avoid any disturbance, as all forms of transport were
off the roads, which presented a deserted look owing to the homecoming of PPP's
Chairperson and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
While the actual
time of the exam was 9.30am, most of the students left their residences three
hours earlier to reach their examination centres on time. As O level exams are
conducted globally according to their respective time, this paper could not be
postponed or rescheduled. Students had to attend the exams no matter what
happened, risking their lives in this uncertain situation of the
Parents of the students were worried about the law and order
situation, recalling the May 12 incidents, which claimed more than 40 lives.
They prayed that such a situation would not recur. It may be recalled that the
tenth grade exams, too, were held while the city was in the grip of violence in
the month of May.
With such apprehensions, entire families of candidates
moved to their relatives' houses and many to hotels which were overbooked as
multinational companies and the electronic media personnel were accommodated
there by their employers.
However, rush was witnessed in the morning at
the road side of Regent Plaza, the venue for the exams at the main Sharea
Faisal. No security measures were witnessed around the examination centres as
claimed by British Council Director Examination, Asim Saeed Khan, who had said
that the British Council had arranged for proper security measures.
Mohammed Arsalan and Minha Beg, students of Karachi Public School,
residing in Gulistan-e-Rafi, Malir, shifted to Mehran Hotel the night before
along with their parents as all roads coming from Malir to the airport were
closed late Wednesday night.
Another candidate, Syed Faizan Ali, of the
same school, living in Water Pump, also faced a similar situation. He and his
family left their residence at 6am. His mother, Mumtaz Ali, was quite worried
for her son, saying that he did not sleep the entire night due to stress and
mental agony over whether or not he would be able to reach the exam venue.
Humair Zia, son of a Karachi University Professor, had to bear the
traffic situation though alternate routes were already announced. He managed to
reach the centre by passing through the lanes of Khudadad Colony and Lines Area,
as the main roads were closed.
Rafay Samad, a student of Foundation
Public School in Defence, who lives on Tariq Road, moved to his aunt's home, as
they had a bad experience earlier when he was giving his class 10 exams on May
12, 13 and 14 - the days the city saw uncertainty and turmoil when Chief Justice
Iftikhar Chaudhry was to arrive in the city.
Parents waited for three
hours outside the hotel with no seating arrangements as they were denied entry
by the security guards posted at the main gate of the hotel. The guards said
that the British Council management had given orders to not let any parent
accompany their children into the exam venue.
However, the exams were
held peacefully with no untoward incident taking place. The other venue was the
Hotel Pearl Continental, where most of the parents also stayed overnight to
avoid any eventuality. The exams will conclude on November 22. The News