Panic among parents of school going clildren

Parents reluctant to send their children to schools
Rawalpindi, Oct 16: Parents, apprehensive over the uncertain law and order situation, are reluctant to send their children to schools because of the fresh spate of terror acts in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

The mid-term examinations are in progress in many educational institutions, but most parents are not sending their children to schools.

Sources in various schools of the city informed that school managements are considering closing down academic institutions for some days because of the prevailing situation. Both parents and the school managements are concerned over the new approach of terrorists of holding people hostages.

Principal of an English medium school, told said that a several students have been absent for last 3 to 4 days. According to her, most parents were demanding the closure of the school despite the ongoing mid-term examinations. She said that students keep on discussing terror incidents even in classrooms, which is not good for them. "Students are frequently asked to avoid this topic in school but they can hardly get their innocent minds off it."

Raja Kamran Abbasi said that he would not send his child to school due to the prevailing law and order situation in the city. "How can I send my child to school in these circumstances?" he said.

Zara Hussain, a mother, said news of the GHQ attack was quite perturbing for her, as at that time her two sons and a daughter were in their schools located in the cantonment.

Shahzeb Irfan, a class 5 student, said that his parents have strictly ordered him to prepare for the mid-term examinations at home. "I want to attend school, but my parents are not allowing me because of the law and order situation," he said. Thursday was a another shocking day for the entire nation, particularly for parents and families of school-going children of the provincial metropolis, as terror revisited Lahore at three different places simultaneously.

The first terrorist strike which occurred at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Building was the most shocking because of the buildingís proximity to different private schools and business centres.

An emergent meeting of the management of St Anthony High School and Sacred Heart School Cathedral High School, Lawrence Road situated near the FIA building , was also held in the afternoon which decided that the institutes would remain closed on Friday (today) and Saturday (tomorrow), reopening on Monday.

There was no student at Anthony High School at the time of terroristsí attack on FIA building as no paper was scheduled for Thursday in connection with the schoolís on going mid-year exams while regular classes were being held at Sacred Heart School Cathedral High School.

The exchange of fire between terrorists and the personnel of law enforcement agencies created panic among the schoolchildren who had witnessed a massive suicide attack right in front of their school last year.

On March 11, 2008, a massive suicide car bomb had ripped through the provincial headquarters of the FIA in which dozens of people were killed besides serious damage to scores of homes and schools in the neighborhood.

It is pertinent to mention that various private schools, especially missionary schools, have been operating on or near The Mall which also connects FIA building near Regal Chowk.

The other two places including Police Training Centre, Manawan and Elite Police Training Centre, Baidian Road where terrorists attacked on Thursday are, however, far away from the city centre.

Nonetheless, the terror strikes created panic and unrest among people of the provincial metropolis while the innocent school going children from across the city were terrified and their parents and families were greatly disturbed.

Soon after the unfortunate incident, people thronged schools to collect their wards. Extraordinary rush of people was witnessed on various roads while traffic also remained choked for quite some time.

The traffic on The Mall was also suspended for quite some time to ensure proper rescue activities.

Principal St Anthonyís High School, Lawrence Road, Mr Noel Cyprian confirmed that the institutes would reopen on Monday.

He said, on Thursday, St Anthony High School was closed owing to mid-year exam as no paper was scheduled for Thursday. However, Sacred Heart Cathedral High School Lawrence Road was open. When contacted, DPI (Secondary Education) Mian Abdul said the government sector schools would remain open on Friday (today) as per routine.
Sacred Heart School remained one of the worst victims of the second attack on the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building, as the school is right in front of the building.

At the time of the attack, almost 500 students were present in the school. Children started crying after hearing the cross-firing between terrorists and security personnel. A schoolteacher Perveen said that the teachers gathered all students in the playground as a safety measure.

Teachers called the parents and the van drivers to immediately pick the students from the school. After receiving reports of multiple attacks in the city, administrations of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore School of Economics (LSE), Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Kinnaird College, King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Fatima Jinnah Medical College, Forman Christian College University, Aitchison College, Government College University and LACAS beefed up security at the entrance of the campuses.

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