Drug use in top schools, colleges

Growing drug use in top schools, colleges to be monitored
Karachi, June 09: The Sindh government has, in principle, decided to "closely monitor" all top private and government educational institutes to control the growing narcotic activities there, official sources privy to this development said.

Feedback from the Education Department would also be obtained for this purpose.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the provincial Narcotics Interdiction Committee (NIC), which was chaired by the Chief Secretary of Sindh, Mr Fazal-ur-Rehman, held here recently.

The participants at the meeting reportedly expressed their deep concern over the use of drugs in educational institutes.

They called for enhanced coordination between the law-enforcement agencies and other organizations to curb the menace of narcotics in society, especially among youths.

The Secretary of Excise and Taxation, Mohsin S. Haqqani said about the decisions made at the meeting about how to address the problems.

He said that a sub-committee, to be led by Home Secretary Arif Khan, was also established to deal with the issues relating to narcotics.

Meanwhile, the President of Pakistan Society, Dr Saleem Azam, whose organisation has been treating drug addicts since 1982, said that charas, marijuana, cannabis, "ecstasy" tablets and "dating drug or club drug" (MAMD) were being increasingly consumed by youths at an alarming level.

A student from a prominent private university said that 20 out of 30 students in his class were taking charas.

He said that every third girl-student in his university smoked cigarettes, and some even took charas. He said that "depression and peer pressures" were the main reasons behind taking drugs.

Dr Azam, however, opined that taking help from the LEAs would not be enough in dealing with the problem.

It also required informing the youths about the harmful effects of drugs and this could be done through arranging visits to hospitals and other centres where drug addicts were being treated.

He also suggested creating recreational facilities to take the youths off the drugs.

Dr Azam said that parents should spend more time with their children and counsel them on the issue.

He said that the `growing gap' between teachers and students was unhelpful.

The doctor said that religious scholars should be encouraged to take up this issue in their sermons.

He disclosed that he knew about at least 50 dens in the city that sold charas, but the authorities concerned had failed to crack them down.

He lamented that the ban on smoking at public places was not being implemented.

Dr Azam wondered if the authorities would manage to control drugs use in the institutes by deputing cops there since they had even failed to control a lesser evil, namely, the "copy culture".

He regretted that charas was no more considered to be a "bad drug" or an intoxicant. Instead it had become "socially acceptable" even though "drug-induced psychosis, hallucinations and non-motivation" were some of the harmful effects of charas.

Dr Azam said that charas was even more dangerous than some other drugs since its effects in the body lasted for up to 45 days.

He opined that apart from peer pressure, the 'modern lifestyle' was also a factor contributing to drug use.

Dr Azam recalled that the 'hippy culture' was in vogue in the 1960s in USA whereas now a day called "420", which fell on the 20th of April every year, was dedicated for drug use there and this practice was penetrating in our society too.

He said that ecstasy was being imported from China, India and Thailand.

He said that the demand for the drug, which is also called a "designer drug", had gone up manifolds and this could be gauged from the fact that around three years ago, the ANF used to seize 80 to 100 such drugs, but now they were seizing hundreds of such drugs at the airports.

Dr Azam said that taking the "dating drug" was also increasing among the affluent people. This drug triggered "rash behaviour", which sometimes led to abuse and even rape.

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Govt school demolished by 'land-grabbers'
Karachi: A group of people demolished the building of a government school in Federal B. Area on Tuesday, destroying several classrooms and other infrastructure.

The Modern English Grammar Government Boys Lower Secondary School in Dastagir Block 9 in Gulberg Town was destroyed early in the morning allegedly by one Tariq and accomplices, who claimed to own the property.

The headmistress of the second shift of the school lodged an FIR at the local police station, accusing Tariq and other people of the crime. However, no arrest was made till the filing of this report.

In her report, she alleged that ceiling fans, school documents and other valuables were found to be missing from the school's building.

It was an attempt to occupy the school's building, she alleged.

The Assistant District Officer-Male (ADO-M), Education, Gulberg Town, Mr Taj Muhammad Shah said that Tariq, said to be a resident of the area, had been threatening the headmistress of the lower secondary shift, Ms Tabiba Aisha Hyderi, for some time.

Ms Hyderi said that Tariq used to visit the school regularly, claiming that he was the owner of the building.

"He wanted us to leave the building and hand it over to him," she added.

Some other members of the school's management, who were present at the police station, said they had been repeatedly threatened in the past to evacuate the said school building.

They said Tariq had never served the school management with a legal notice, nor did he ever show them documents of ownership of the land or the building to back his claim.

The headmaster of the primary section, Mr Aslam Rajput, alleged that Tariq often visited the school during his shift.

"He once came to see me and told me to shift the school somewhere else as this building belonged to him," Mr Rajput said.

He alleged that Tariq had claimed that some influential people of the area had been backing him on this issue.

"He was just bluffing because I personally know those people and they could never support a land-grabber," Mr Rajput further said.

The school was nationalised during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 1970s.

The person who had owned the school prior to its nationalisation was said to have died a long time ago.

The school reportedly had other claimants to its ownership in the past as well.

Some people had made an attempt to occupy this building in 2006 also, and the matter then got referred to the court.

Habib-ur-Rehman had earlier lodged an FIR at the Jauharabad Police Station against Akber Qadri, Saba Malik, Waseem Uddin and Muhammad Yaqoub over the dispute of the ownership of the land. Police had arrested Qadri and Saba, who were later released on bail, whereas Waseem and Yaqoub had got bail before arrest.

The accused in Tuesday's incident had apparently tried to take advantage of the closure of the school due to summer vacations.

The premises were supposed to have been guarded by a watchman, but the school's management could not say where the watchman was when the incident occurred.

The SHO of Jauharabad Police Station, Manzoor Siddiqui, said the police would give priority to arresting the accused as it was a matter of a school and its pupils. The News made several attempts to contact the EDO (Education) but to no avail. Nor did the attempt to contact the accused bear any success.

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Teachers' demands accepted: Pir Mazhar
Karachi: Despite facing economic problems, the present government has approved all just demands of teachers, including those about the time scale and teaching allowance, on the pattern of Balochistan on the basis of Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRs).

This was stated by Senior Sindh Minister for Education and Literacy Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq on Tuesday at a press conference held at the Sindh Assembly Building.

"As a result of acceptance of demands, 1, 17, 835 schoolteachers would receive teaching allowance while 1, 16, 309 would get the time scale upgradation across the province. The treasury will sustain a load of Rs2 billion in this context," Haq informed.

"Leaders of the teachers associations misguided the teachers' community and took them to streets by telling them lies. The statements about rejection of summary were nothing but rumours spread by some vested element. The teachers' community showed unnecessary urgency on these issues. Now, we demand of them to work hard to make up for the lost time and education process that lapsed due to their strikes," he said.

The minister further said that he had directed the Secretary Education, Sindh to visit each district and identify the ghost teachers and sack them.

Haq said that the teachers got themselves transferred to cities from remote rural areas and this created problems for rural students.

He said that his department was working on this issue and he would announce some positive news soon. The news

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