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No more beard at cadet college

TAXILA, Oct 1: Amid much talk of "Talibanisation" and "enlightened moderation", the administration of Cadet College Hassanabdal has come up with its own controversial rules restricting the cadets, other than Hafiz-i-Quran, from sporting beards.

In an order issued on August 31, the college principal notified that cadets looking forward to growing beards must seek permission, otherwise they would face the music.

Talking to reporters, a number of students, who were accompanied by their parents, opined that the step had been taken to discourage religious tendency among the cadets and to enforce the government's vision of "enlightened moderation".
The order says: "Only those cadets who are Hafiz-i-Quran will be allowed to keep beards in the future.

"Other than these, no additional cadet will be permitted to grow or keep a beard unless he is a Hafiz, for which he will produce a certificate of having done Hafizul Quran and application from his parents for growing a beard."

The principal also tasked all house masters with conducting a survey and enlisting the cadets with beards. They are to submit the names to the principal as soon as possible.

Taking exception to the order, a number of cadets and their parents expressed anger at the decision forcefully imposed by the college administration.

"The college administration wants to secularise the institution and we condemn the order, which is in sheer violation of the spirit of Islam and human rights."

MPA Prof Mohammad Waqas Khan, who was also accompanying the group, said he would take up the issue on the floor of Punjab Assembly during its next session.

Mr Khan said the principal should be removed from the office without any further delay for issuing the order that discouraged observance of Sunnah.

Cadet College Hassanabdal Principal Tayyab N. Akhtar, when contacted, said according to the policy introduced in the college, all cadets who wanted to have beards should apply and then the administration would allow or disallow after case-to- case study of every application in a meeting.

He said: "We normally discourage cadets to have beards."

Mr Akhtar said the order should be followed by the cadets as they had given an undertaken at the time of admission that they would abide and follow all the rules introduced by the college administration, adding that those who did not follow the order would be treated accordingly.

The parents of the cadets have called upon Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool, who is also the chairman of the college's Board of Governors, to intervene in the matter and remove the ban on growing beards.

They also demanded necessary action against the college administration for issuing such disputed orders. Dawn

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