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Peshawar school bus bombing | Married students

Peshawar school bus bombing worries parents
Peshawar, Dec 18: Parents are concerned about the safety of their children after the recent school bus bombing incident and the threatening letters being sent by militants to some educational institutions.

A 14-year old boy was killed and two schoolchildren were injured when the bus of a private school was hit by an improvised explosive device on Charkhana Road in Landi Arbab area on December 13.

The terror act raised concern among hundreds of thousands of students and their parents in the provincial capital. All are worried due to the lawlessness that has plagued Peshawar and others parts of the province.

The government-run girls high school in Landi Arbab has already been bombed thrice. It has severely affected the enrollment as well as the academic activities at the school. Some villagers said that leaflets had been distributed in the village recently with warnings against education for girls. But still brave students displayed courage and continued with their education.

Most of the schools are closed these days due to winter vacations and parents are relaxed a bit. But they get upset while thinking about the situation when holidays would be over and they would start sending children to schools in this insecure environment. "For the parents, the lives of their children are far important than their better future. Several schools in the city have been bombed recently, forcing the students to abandon their studies or go for schooling at relatively safer places," said Amina Khattak, a mother and resident of Gulberg locality in Peshawar.

Shandana Qadir, a resident of Swati Phatak, said: "After recent bombing of the school bus in Landi Arbab, my spouse and I are concerned about our two kids studying in a local private school. You cannot stop them from attending school but you are never relaxed until they return home every afternoon."

Certain schools in the city have been receiving threats for the last couple of years. Some were bombed but this was for the first time that a school bus became the target of a terrorist strike. Last year the buses of a reputed private school on Warsak Road had been set on fire when terrorists broke into the building and also bombed a portion of the academic block.

Mohammad Naeem, a crockery dealer from Bara, enrolled his three sons and two daughters in top private schools in Peshawar hoping that they would study in a secure environment but the increasing threats to the schools has disturbed him.

"I am paying around Rs17,000 a month in fees and other charges for my kids' education. I am bearing the huge expenses so that my children could have a better future. But the threats to even private schools and bombings of other educational institutions have taken a toll on children's education," he complained.

He said his daughters got frightened after their school administration received threats last year from suspected militants. A housewife Nazia Bibi said her daughter and two sons were extraordinarily intelligent students, but they were reluctant to go to school due to the fear of terrorism. She said frequent absenteeism had started affecting their studies, adding the same was the case with several other students. "Parents have been forced despite their meager resources to get tuitions for their children," said Saima Azmat, who teaches at a private school on Kohat Road. "The majority of parents who are sending their daughters to the lone girls' high school in our village are labourers or farmers," she said.

"They are keen to educate their daughters, but the growing terror incidents have proved to be a major hurdle in making their dreams a reality," she said. "After every bomb blast, the attendance at schools goes down for several weeks. Once the studies regain momentum, another blast takes place," Huma Khan, a teacher at a private school said while describing the state of affairs. She said the literacy rate in rural Peshawar, especially in the villages adjoining tribal areas, had dropped to a great extent due to the frequent acts of terrorism.

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Refusal to readmit student
Peshawar: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued a contempt notice to the administration of a private school for non-compliance with the court order to readmit a student, who was rusticated for getting married.

The court had allowed on December 2 the petition of a Grade-7 student, Ghairat Khan, who challenged his rustication from the school. The PHC had also directed the principal and board of governors of the Peshawar Model School to explain as to why they had rusticated the student for tying the knot. According to the student's lawyer, M Isa Khan, the school administration, however, appeared to be hesitant in complying with the court orders, which led to filing of a contempt application.

The applicant stated that following the judgement he went to the school for taking classes and showed the court order to the principal but she did not allow him to take classes.

Taking up the application, a two-judge bench of the PHC comprising Chief Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel ordered the principal of the school to explain her position in the case. The case was adjourned for January 12, 2011. In the main petition, the petitioner stated that the school administration expelled him only because he got married and the "unlawful" act put his educational future at stake.

Ghairat Khan was a student of the Peshawar Model School and was promoted to Grade 7 in the current academic year. He said his father had died and presently he was living with his aged mother, who was ill and was unable to do the house chores. He claimed he got married as per the permission and desire of his mother and other relatives.

The student said that after his marriage, the principal of the Peshawar Model School (Boys-III), Ring Road branch, expelled him from the school. The petitioner's lawyer raised various questions in the petition, stating that there was no law in the country that might empower the respondents to expel a student for getting married. The news

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Teachers divided over choice of acting VC
Peshawar: The authorities have failed to appoint an acting vice-chancellor of Islamia College University (ICU) after lapse of more than three months of the abduction of its Vice-Chancellor Ajmal Khan.

"The university has been working without a head since kidnapping of Ajmal Khan, who is still missing, though the law, under which the university was established, says that an acting vice-chancellor should be appointed in the absence of vice-chancellor," said a teacher.

According to sources, differences among teachers over the list of names sent to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, who is chancellor of all the public sector universities, for selection of one as acting vice-chancellor is main hurdle in the said appointment.

"If a vice-chancellor is absent even for a week, the law says that the chancellor should appoint a senior dean or officer to officiate as acting vice-chancellor," the teacher added.

Ajaml Khan was kidnapped on Sept 7 this year and till today he has not been recovered.

A list of deans of seven faculties were sent to the chancellor to appoint one among them as acting vice-chancellor but senior faculty opposed the names of some teachers having less experience, forcing the chancellor not to appoint anyone on the vacant post.

A teacher, on condition of anonymity said that governor had decided to appoint Dr Naeem Khalid, dean of faculty of Numerical and Physical Sciences, as acting vice-chancellor but senior teachers opposed him. Since then the governor is running the affairs of the university. Dr Naeem Khalid was not available for comment.

"He (Dr Naeem) lacks experience for even becoming a dean and certainly doesn't qualify to become acting vice-chancellor," said another senior teacher.

Perhaps the governor also did not want to create any controversy so he did not appoint anyone as acting vice-chancellor, said another teacher, alleging that the registrar was passing orders like a VC, though unofficially.

Prof Saeed Anwar, registrar of Islamia College University, however, rejected the allegation and said that he was a professor of Chemistry and interested in teaching.

"It was on the request of Ajmal Khan that I joined this university and took up this job," he said.

He said that he did not know why the chancellor had not followed the varisty act to appoint acting vice-chancellor so far. "My good relations with the teachers are helping me to run the affairs smoothly otherwise working without a VC is a great problem," he said.

Since the abduction of Ajmal Khan, policy matters were being sent for approval to the chancellor and pro-chancellor. Dawn

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