In a distressing act of extremism, terrorists have targeted and blown up two girls’ schools in the Mir Ali sub-division of North Waziristan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Fortunately, there were no casualties reported during the attacks, although substantial damage was inflicted on the school buildings.
The Deputy Commissioner of North Waziristan, Rehan Gul Khattak, confirmed that one of the targeted schools was the Government Girls Middle School Hafizabad in Hassu Khel. The explosion caused significant damage to the school building but thankfully, no lives were lost. The District Police Officer, Saleem Riaz, further revealed that there were reports of two girls’ schools being targeted and destroyed by explosives. However, no casualties were reported as a result of these heinous acts.
The affected schools were located in the Musakki and Hassu Khel villages of the Mir Ali sub-division. As a response, cases against these terrorist acts are being registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.
This unfortunate incident adds to the growing list of violence against educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Just earlier this month, eight individuals, including five teachers, were killed in separate shootings in Upper Kurram Tehsil. In Parachinar, a teacher lost their lives in a moving vehicle, while in Government High School Tari Mangal, unidentified gunmen targeted the staffroom, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals, including four teachers. Additionally, three drivers who had brought construction materials to the school were also among the casualties.
While school shootings are relatively rare in Pakistan, the memory of the devastating attack on an army school in Peshawar in December 2016, which claimed the lives of over 140 people, mostly students, still remains fresh in the nation’s collective consciousness.
The repeated targeting of educational institutions is a distressing trend that threatens the right to education and the safety of students and teachers. The authorities must take swift and decisive action to apprehend those responsible for these cowardly acts of violence and ensure the protection of educational institutions across the region.