Dastardly attack against innocent students
Islamabad, Oct 21: Depressingly, though perhaps not unsurprisingly given the beliefs of militant extremists, an educational institution has been targeted by two suicide bombers in Islamabad. That the institution happened to be the International Islamic University may be doubly shocking to some. But the dastardly attack against innocent students on Tuesday is indicative of the fact that the fight for the future of Pakistan does not just pit the 'godless' against the 'true believers'; it is actually a war by a radical minority in society that is bent on imposing its millenarian ideals on the rest of the population, including those trying to educate themselves about Islam in a modern environment. Since the middle years of the Musharraf era, the Islamic University has seen a number of changes in its administration and outlook that have put the university in the 'moderate' camp of Islam, a change that, to the militants, amounts to heresy, or even apostasy. And it is now well known that anyone who holds even a slight difference in interpretation of Islam with the militants is a 'legitimate' target.
The motive for the bombing of the IIU is not known yet, but two things are known. One, Tuesday's attack is another in a wave of suicide bombings and fidayeen attacks since the state indicated its intention to enter the ground zero of militancy in South Waziristan. Two, while the IIU has not issued a statement in support of Operation Rah-i-Njiat, it is known that the government and the security establishment have reached out to the media, civil society and other civilian institutions for support. Perhaps, then, the militants have decided to demonstrate their anger at the lack of support for their 'cause' among the public.
The wickedness of Tuesday's attack, however, raises fresh fears for the public. Security officials have in recent weeks repeatedly warned of the possibility of attacks against civilian targets, including educational institutions. Until Tuesday, there was no way to independently assess how real that threat was. Now we know that the war is widening. Many schools in the country were closed at the start of the week in apprehension of violence in the cities and towns. After Tuesday, more schools will close temporarily. But here is the terrifying reality: schools, colleges and universities are soft targets and securing them against the threat of suicide bombers is all but impossible, especially in the short term. The country is not sinking, but we are slipping towards the very ugliest terrain of urban militant violence. And at this time of great danger, we must also ask: what else will shake leaders such as Nawaz Sharif, who are still on the fence, to take a firm stand against militants and support the effort to subdue them? DawnYour Comments
Students expressed resolve to fight terrorism
Islamabad: Lauding the decision of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) for not closing its institutions, the students said they would not succumbed to terrorists' threats who wanted to destabilise society. The students of various institutions have expressed resolve to join their hands against terrorists.
Schools located in cantonments in various parts of the country and most of the private schools were closed due to threats posed by present security environment in the country.
However, Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) decided to continue to hold classes in schools and colleges under its control. "We must fight against the scourge of terrorism with unity instead of abandoning the studies," said Zunara Khalid a student of local school.
"Terrorists want suspension of educational activities and we must not serve their purpose by creating harassment among the parents and children," she said.
Another student, Ali said terrorists wanted to keep the students away from studies so that the country could not progress. Educated youth can play its due role to make them fail in their nefarious designs.Closure of educational institutions will have psychological impact on the minds of the children, and will create a sense of insecurity, another student said. The government is playing its role for eradicating the terrorist activities, but civil society and especially the educational institutions should join hands with them, he added.
Principal of Islamabad College for Management and Commerce (ICMC) Amir Rizwan appreciated the decision of FDE not to close the educational institutions. The holidays will affect the study routine of the students and create a sense of insecurity. Especially, college students who have to cover their syllabus in a limited time period will be disturbed.
Rizwan said, "the situation is normal as far as FDE institutes are concerned. My own child is going to school without any fear." However, an official of Roots School System said majority of private institutions in twin cities and federal government schools in cantonment areas had been closed for a week. So, the management of Roots School System also closed all its branches for a week.
She said it was important to take precautionary measures in such situations. The school will reopen next Monday (October 26). app
IIU students staged a protest on Malik's arrival
Islamabad: The International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) students staged a protest on Tuesday on the arrival of Interior Minister Rehman Malik after the terror strikes at new campus of the university.
Over 200 students staged a protest demonstration as soon as Malik reached the scene of blasts. The students chanted slogans against the government and the minister for failing to protect life and property of the citizens. They demanded that the government provide security to citizens including students on the campus.
They were of the view that IIUI students were vulnerable on the campus. "If our lives are not secure inside the institution, how could it be expected that we are safe outside," they maintained.
They said few days ago all the international private institutions were closed due to threats of terror attacks, but IIUI, where hundreds of foreign students were studying, were left without proper security. "Malik himself has admitted that it was a security lapse and he is continuing to say this whenever any blast occurs," they said, adding that they were feeling vulnerable and it would earn a bad name for Pakistan in the world.
The students said in present situation they were unable to concentrate on their studies and they intend to leave hostels for an indefinite period.
They pelted stones on police escorting the minister. Malik visited Shariah Block of the university and soon left the place without talking to media. Daily times
FJWU, PMAS-AAUR closed
Rawalpindi: The terrorist strike at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on Tuesday prompted the administrations of Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), and Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR), to announce holidays till October 25.
Dr Shamim Zaidi, spokeswoman for FJWU, said that after the tragic incident of IIUI, the university administration had decided to close university till Sunday to avoid any untoward situation.
She said FJWU housed only female students and their security was a major concern of the university administration.Hostels security: She said the university administration in collaboration with the women police had beefed up security of FJWU five hostels housing 600 students. She said no girl would be allowed to leave the hostel unless her parents arrive to take her with them.
PMAS-AAUR spokesman Musa Kaleem said that in the wake of terror strikes the university administration had also decided to close the university till Sunday.
While the private educational institutions had already been closed in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the federal and provincial governments also announced on Tuesday to close their institutions until security situation improved.
Quaid-i-Azam University reopening
Islamabad: The Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) would reopen on Thursday (October 22) and regular classes would restart on the same day. In this regard, all hostels (boys and girls) would be reopened on Wednesday evening to accommodate students, says a press release here on Tuesday. The news
Sihala college being used only for training
Islamabad: The US embassy said on Tuesday that the 'law-enforcement training facility' set up at the Sihala Police College in 2003 at the request of the government of Pakistan was being used to provide training only to Pakistani police personnel.
Responding to a report which was based on an official letter sent by the commandant of the Sihala college to the IG police, the US embassy said the facility had a 'transparent' existence.
The statement denied that any 'monitoring' equipment had been installed at the facility.
The statement said that since 2003 the United States had provided training in a variety of counter-terrorism-related skills to federal and provincial police officials at the Sihala Police College.
It said the administration of the college had repeatedly visited the facility and the current commandant had access to the facility at any time. Daily times
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