Two More Girls’ Schools in Swat Region Blown Up in Pakistan

by Gopalan on  May 23, 2008 at 11:31 AM Education News
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 Two More Girls’ Schools in Swat Region Blown Up in Pakistan
Two more girls' schools in the troubled Swat region in the northwestern part of Pakistan were blown up Wednesday.

Also to be blasted were a gas pipe line and two picnic points. Besides a house was set on fire and a policeman was killed by Islamic militants.

The surge in violence in Swat came hours before talks between the Tehrik-i-Taliban and the Awami National Party-led government ended on a positive note in Peshawar.

It is learnt that militants disowned by Maulana Fazlullah's spokesman Muslim Khan, blew up the two girls schools in Koza Bandai and Nengolai areas of tehsil Kabal.

Two picnic points at Chhuta Lahore were set on fire by another group.

The main gas supply line was blown up by one of the two bombs planted near Balogram area, affecting gas supply to Mingora.

The second bomb was defused by a disposal squad.

Another group of militants attacked a checkpost in Nengolai, killing the policeman.

On Tuesday night, the Matta police station had come under a heavy attack by unidentified assailants.

Police and security forces fired back and encounter continued for 30 minutes.

In Charbagh the house of a policeman was attacked, however no casualty was reported in the firing.

Only last fortnight thirteen militants were arrested after a girl's high school was set on fire in the same Charbagh area. Unidentified attackers had set fire to the school and planted bombs in its science laboratory Sunday.

Once restricted to pockets in the mountains along the Afghanistan border, radical mullahs and their followers now wield power in vast areas of northwest Pakistan, moving beyond the tribal regions and into northern Pakistan cities and the Swat Valley.

The Pakistanis, and by extension the United States, have almost no control of events" in the northern, ethnically Pashtun regions, said Milt Bearden, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan.

"I don't think anyone in Washington really gets it," he said. "Losing Swat is shocking."

Pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah has set up a virtual mini-state in Swat, a province of 4,000 square miles. He uses an FM radio station to help spread fundamentalist Islam in an area once known to tourists as the "Switzerland of Asia" for its stunning, snow-covered mountains, reports said in November last year.

Fazlullah, who draws tens of thousands to his rallies, has unleashed a broad campaign against Western influence. He uses his outlawed FM radio station to preach jihad against America and President Musharraf and teach his strict interpretation of Islam.

Fazlullah has called for a ban on polio vaccinations because he said it is a ploy by the West to sterilize Muslim babies. He demands women wear the all-encompassing burqa and frowns on barbers who give haircuts in styles deemed un-Islamic.

Militias following Fazlullah's teachings, identified by their shoulder-length hair and camouflage vests over traditional shalwar kameez clothing, have bombed girls schools and blown up video and CD shops. They drilled holes into the face of a 20-foot- tall stone Buddha, obliterating the features of the 1,300-year-old sculpture.

Sher Mohammed, a lawyer in Swat and a human rights activist, said the enforcers — including Afghans and Arabs — "are roaming freely, checking barber shops in the small villages."

"They come out at midnight. They are not local people," he said.

Now that very Fazlullah is talking to the Pakistani authorities, but apparently there are other groups who would not heed him.

Source: Medindia

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