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Schools are closed in Pakistan

The schools are shut
Oct 23: It is time to work on how the War on Terror is going. In Pakistan, where it seems most of the activity is centred, the schools and colleges have been shutdown following a blast at the International Islamic University (IIU), and a series of high-profile targets aimed against the security agencies which began with an attack on Army GHQ. Also, though the refugees from the government's anti-militant operation have not returned entirely, more refugees are being created by the army operation in Waziristan. It is not entirely unrelated that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is going to face a run-off election against Abdullah Abdullah, having been adjudged not to have obtained 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

The closing down of educational institutions reflects the success of the militants' numbing campaign, with the first blast at an educational institution claiming six lives, taking place at a time when students had broken for lunch. This marked a new phase in the bombings, and showed that the militants were moving on to a new phase in their campaign. There had been warnings percolating through intelligence agencies of impending attacks on educational institutions which had caused some schools run by security agencies to shut up shop, but when the blasts did occur, the government reacted by closing down all educational institutions till October 26.

This may or may not be the aim of the militants, who needed open schools and colleges to serve as targets, but it was still their first success, the first time that the sand they had flung at the machinery of the state had finally caused some gears to scream and grind to a halt. It also meant a new worry for parents throughout Pakistan, already seeing a shrinking job market for their offspring, now worrying about their safe return from school, college or university everyday.

However, the mechanisms of the state are in good shape, as the militants found out not just in Rawalpindi, where they had attacked the army at GHQ, but also at Lahore, where they struck at the police. The Lahore attacks may well have had an Indian component, being so close to the border, but the terrorism was probably because of the operation which started later, but which was announced long before and well in advance, in Waziristan. The Waziristan operation is not the first, and is unlikely to be the last, with South Punjab rivalling Quetta as a potential target. The pattern has been for there to be a great American outcry about a particular region, followed by Predator missile attacks to be launched by the CIA on it, with Pakistan Army troops moving in afterwards to pacify the region. So far, Quetta and the South Punjab have been subject to the media outcry, and the missile strikes have not occurred in either region yet, so there is still some time before the military is told to 'put boots on the ground' there yet. In the meanwhile, the militants will do their best to make the machinery of the state unviable. However, this also runs the risk of making the militant cause merely propaganda for the USA and those backing it. This has happened with the campaign against the students, with IIU students being quoted as saying that those who launched the attack had attacked students who were Islamic, and thus themselves could not claim to be Islamic. This is a claim the militants do not like even to be raised, not even if they win the debate, and thus the Americans do their best to constantly raise this claim, as well as find what they see as non-violent alternatives to the militants. The militants help them when they undermine the educational system, for they will find themselves blamed for the closure of educational institutions.

There are other institutions that could be threatened. Health institutions are one, along with the many government offices which the average citizen is forced to go to, because he has to get the right form or the right signature on it. However, the educational institutions in government control employ the majority of government servants, followed (though not at all closely) by health institutions. Therefore, forced closures not only mean that the government is not delivering services, but also that the majority of its employees are forced to be at home.

However, though the militants have kept the students and teachers at home, they still have a long way to go before they will touch the security agencies by this method. After all, the security agencies are the ultimate sanction of the state, and no state can allow them to be affected. However, even they have children to send to school, college or university, and thus the method chosen cannot but affect as wide a cross-section as possible, because everyone, especially the intelligentsia that mans the government departments, sends their children to school. After all, even teachers send their children to school. However, the parade of senior Americans continued, with Senator John Kerry in Islamabad to allay fears over the aid bill he had co-sponsored, which had recently been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The USA, which is putting down good money, and the American taxpayer's at that, now expects Pakistan both to obey the conditionalities in the bill and to cooperate in the US War on Terror, by carrying out the operation in Waziristan. However, Senator Kerry's coming really did nothing, for he didn't really bring anything new, and the terms of engagement remained more or less the same as before. However, now Pakistan has been promised money, and therefore the state, or rather its coercive arm, the military, should buckle down and cooperate by taking action in the tribal agencies in the hope that they will be successful where the Americans themselves have failed, in the tribal areas of Afghanistan.

The run-off election there on November 7 is proof not of the triumph of democracy in an undemocratic land, but of the rigging attempts by supporters of the incumbent, and also reflects the failure of Afghanistan to go by American rules, which foresee an occupation being succeeded by a democracy which looks up to the USA for guidance. This also reflects the failure of the USA in reversing historical trends by a successful occupation of Afghanistan. The failure of this occupation succeeding should send signals not only to Pakistan's rulers, who stand fully committed to the USA, but also to the militants, and both should realise that the USA will increase all efforts to continue its occupation and to meet its goals in the region, which have to do with its ultimate survival. Neither should think that the USA is engaged on a mere whim. The nation


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Bolan Medical College denial
Quetta: Principal Bolan Medical College has strongly denied all reports about forcible vacation of girls college hostel. In a statement Principal said that neither BMC administration nor Principal has got vacated any hostel by force nor any one was removed from there. He said there is no problem from First year to Final year. However he added unauthorized women were removed from some House officers rooms and Ladies force stopped them from their reentry into the hostel.

He strongly condemned such baseless propaganda, which brought bad name for the profession of medical and institution. He directed all the girls and boy students and House officers living in hostels for keeping their Hostel cards with them in view of security. Without such card no one would be allowed entry into the hostel. Besides if any unconcerned person was found in any room it would be sealed immediately and allotment would be cancelled, he warned. Ppi


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SETs Science appointed against vacant posts
Peshawar: Government of NWFP Elementary and Secondary Education Department NWFP has ordered immediate transfer of all those SETs Science, against the vacancies of SETs Science lying vacant in Higher Secondary Schools, who were presently occupying posts of managerial cadres. It merits a mention here that some SETs Science had been posted against the managerial posts of District Officers/Deputy District Officers/Principals/Vice Principals/Headmasters/Assistant Directors etc as a stop gap arrangements.

Keeping in view the SETs shortage in schools, government has decided to transfer them to their original posts as the new academic session has already been started. The department, however, directed to adjust the SETs Science preferably to the posts lying vacant in their own district of domicile for their convenience. It may be recalled that government had already decided to transfer Sub Specialists from the managerial posts, the other day. The purpose of transforming teaching cadre from the managerial cadres is to remove the shortage of teaching staff and improve the standard of education in the public sector schools of the province.


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Govt utilizing all at resources to promote education in province
Quetta: Balochistan Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa has said that present government was using all at hand resources of providing chances of education and development to the young generation of province. He expressed these views while addressing the participants at opening ceremony of website and career counseling center at Balochistan Rural Development Academy here Thursday.

Chief Secretary said that website which was developed with the help of Assistance to Governance Reforms and Practices in Balochistan AGRPB (UNDP) and others, would provide help to the young generation of province who would be equipped with latest information while sitting at their homes and they would equip themselves for competition. He expressed happiness over the veteran work of Rural Development Academy.

"Government of Balochistan has given 1100 seats to the students of Balochistan who will acquire education in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP and 1100 students of Balochistan will acquire education in these provinces in he fields of Civil, Mechanics, Electronics, Electrical, Mining, Textile, Medicines, Agriculture, Livestock and Engineering." He added. Nasir Khosa said that they would try their best that no seat had to go empty and male and female students had to take advantage of this opportunity.

Chief Minister said that government of Balochistan was using all at hand resources to send students of Balochistan to abroad as they would acquire education over their. He urged Secretary Local Governments and Rural Development Economic Affairs to keep in touch and had to update themselves regarding scholarships. "Not every child thinks of school as a fun place. However, all that homework does pay off. You wouldn't be reading this now unless someone taught you how to read; the chances are good that you learned how to read in a school. Education means more than just learning one's ABCs.

It is necessary for social and economic development." he added. In the developing world many children have to stop their schooling due to financial concerns of their family. Children regularly help out at home or have jobs themselves to help their families earn money. This means that these potential students are not in class. Rural areas throughout the world have fewer schools. This means that it is harder to find an available school that has proper learning resources. Currently rural areas are generally not as educated as urban areas, which creates an educational divide between rural and urban areas. This divide furthers the gap between urban and rural wealth. Later, a MoU was signed between AGRPB (UNDP), IDO and RDA. Shehryar Taj of AGRPB (UNDP), Ali Ahmed Kakar of IDO and Muhammad Naeem of RDA signed the documents. F.P report


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