Thursday, May 22, 2014

Schools threatened over co-education in Pakistan’s Balochistan

May 23, 2014

Representational Photo. Photo Courtesy: AP
Representational Photo. Photo Courtesy: AP
Karachi: An organisation has threatened to attack private schools and coaching centres in remote areas of Pakistan's troubled Balochistan province for imparting English courses and allowing co-education.  An organisation named "Tenzeem Islami-al-Furqan" has threatened to attack private schools and coaching centres in the areas of Panjgur and Turbat for teaching English courses  and allowing co-education classes.

Armed men broke into a home of a school teacher and gunned him down with five others in the Turbat area.  "Since that attack fear and concern has grown among the residents of these areas who send their children to private schools and coaching centres," a school teacher said.  

An official said a grand Jirga has been planned to discuss the situation since most of the private schools and coaching centres have closed down after the threats made to  them.  "The jirga will be attended by people of all walks of life, including political and religious leaders, members of civil society, teachers, elders and women to discuss the issue in detail and announce a future line of action in view of these threats," said Zahir Hussain Baloch, an educationist running  a private school in Panjgur.

He said the religious organisation had told owners and teachers to also stop educating girls at their institutions.  "We had no other option but to close our schools and language centres," he said.  Several thousand people took part in a rally carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans such as "we will not accept ban on female education", "we want safe education" and "education is the right of girls".

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