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Medical college asked to enforce burqa 'order'

PESHAWAR, May 11(Dawn): Anonymous callers have given the administration of the Khyber Medical College a three-week deadline to let students wear burqa on its premises, and warned of dire consequences, including suicide bombings, if the warning is not heeded.

Sources said that officials had received several telephone calls, asking them to strictly enforce burqa in the college and also called for complete segregation besides imposing a complete ban on intermingling of males and females.

The callers also asked girl students to migrate from the Khyber Medical College to the Khyber Girls Medical College in Hayatabad Township to complete their education in a male-free atmosphere.

Sources in the college administration said that they had also been warned of making separate teaching arrangements.

"One letter said that 'obscenity' in the college had 'crossed all limits', necessitating urgent action on the part of the administration," a college source said.

If the college took no action within three weeks, they (the local Taliban) would be left with no option but to bomb the college, the source quoted the letter as saying.

Suicide bombing had also been threatened if their demand was not met, the sources said.

Girl students felt extremely harassed, a college official said, adding that most of the parents were worried about the situation and they were considering sending their daughters to the Khyber Girls Medical College.

However, college Principal Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad said that he was not aware of any Taliban letter or telephone call.

He, however, said that similar threats had been received by some Peshawar University departments a few days ago.

Meanwhile, cassette and CD-sellers in the main market have also received anonymous letters, asking them to wind up their 'evil' business and start some other business in accordance with Islamic injunctions.

"The one-page Urdu-language pamphlet was distributed in the market. It has warned shopkeepers of suicide bombings if they did not wind up their business within a week," said Sher Dil Khan, President of the Tele-film Makers' Association.

The pamphlet stressed that CD-selling could be tolerated if CDs contained information about jihad and Islam.
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