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Pakistan sets up special wing to protect schools from Islamists

world Updated: Nov 16, 2009 13:26 IST
IANS
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A special school security wing (SSSW) of the police has been set up in Pakistan's Malakand division, which has faced the ire of militants who have destroyed over 200 schools, an official said.

"We have established the SSSW to ensure protection to the schools, colleges and university all over Malakand," Mohammad Idrees Khan, deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, Malakand, told The News Monday.

The wing is headed by an inspector who is assisted by two sub-inspectors, four assistant sub-inspectors and other police personnel that monitor the security of the educational institutions in Swat.

Khan said: "Life is returning to normal. The cinemas have reopened in Swat and people can watch movies there. Also, the barbers have reopened their shops while women now live without any fear in the militancy-hit areas of Swat and other districts of Malakand division."

Education was a major victim of terrorism in Malakand division as terrorists destroyed over 200 schools, mostly for girls, in Swat district alone during the last couple of years. It led to schoolchildren abandoning studies.

Khan said that the federal and provincial governments are strengthening and equipping the police force in the division so that the militants are unable to stage a comeback. Besides providing facilities and funds, more vacancies for officers and cops have been created for Malakand.

Pakistan has been hit by a string of terror strikes, including massive bombings, since early October. The Taliban guerrillas have dramatically increased the terror attacks ever since the army stepped up their assault in mountainous South Waziristan.

Twin suicide bombers Oct 20 following which a decision was taken to shut down schools and colleges throughout the country targeted the International Islamic University in the national capital. While some of the educational institutions reopened after a brief while, some private schools extended the closure period.

The school authorities have demanded adequate security for their institutions.

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