The Punjab government in late hours of Monday announced to keep all private and government schools across the province closed for one week, the reason for this closure was cited as the ‘alleged’ harsh weather conditions prevailing in the province. However, contrary to the claim by the Punjab government the general perception is that schools have been shut down owing to lack of security in the aftermath of the Charsadda attack. If the perception is to be believed, the closure of schools raises some very serious questions regarding the performance of the government when it comes to securing educational institutes. The security of educational institutions should have been secured after the Army Public School attack in Peshawar, if the same problem persists even after the passage of more than a year then citizens are justified in asking serious questions from the government. Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a press conference yesterday also took issue with the closing of schools in Punjab. He was of the opinion that security can be improved while the schools are still functional and that the government should have given a message of strength and unity and fight against terrorism instead of closing the schools. ‘The terrorists are desperate so they are attacking the softest targets. There are hundreds of thousands of schools in Pakistan. Securing each is a difficult job, but it must be done,’ said the Interior Minister. Coming back to the claim of Punjab government it must also be mentioned that the cold wave in the province is nearing its end and has already subsided, so the reasoning that the schools were closed due to the severe weather doesn’t hold water.
The Punjab government’s stance on school closure has raised many questions.