Protest over closure of schools

May 22, 2014 - 12:13:04 am

QUETTA: Thousands of women, children and activists marched in Pakistan’s volatile province of Baluchistan yesterday in a protest against a campaign by an Islamist group to force schools to shut down across the region.

Tanzeemul Islam-ul-Furqan, a little-known group, has been setting schools on fire and distributing threatening leaflets against girls’ and Western-style education in Baluchistan, a vast province bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

“At least 35 private schools and 30 language centres have been shut down in the districts of Panjgur and Turbat for well over a week, but government schools are open,” an official said.

“Apparently they have been allowed to function because their enrolment of female students is very small.” 

It is rare for women to take part in public rallies in the traditional tribal society of Baluchistan, but yesterday, thousands of them marched alongside schoolchildren and political activists to appeal for better security.                   REUTERS