30 madrassa students arrested for child militancy in Swat
* Ages of arrested boys range from seven to 15 years
* One detainee says Fazlullah and his spokesman forced him to wear suicide jacket
By Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: Around 24 madrassa students from Swat are being investigated by security forces, while first information reports (FIR) have been registered against six others for being involved in child militancy during the military operation in Swat.
In his report on children’s rights, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) Child Rights Committee (CRC) District Co-ordinator Shaukat Salim said that child militancy in Swat is on the rise.
He told Daily Times that about 25 to 30 madrassa students (from seven to 15 years of age) of Kabal tehsil were used as child militants by rebel cleric Fazlullah.
Salim said that security forces had registered FIRs against six students at Kabal Police Station after thwarting a planned suicide mission against security forces. He said the remaining 24 students were still under investigation at an undisclosed location.
Forced: Revealing the ordeal of one Abid, 12, Salim said that the boy had been admitted to Fazlullah’s madrassa by his parents to memorise the holy Quran. “I learnt 18 siparahs (volumes) of the Quran at the madrassa. Then, during the military operation, Mullah Fazlullah and his spokesman Sirajul Haq compelled me to wear a suicide jacket and target the district courts of Swat,” the CRC district co-ordinator quoted Abid as saying.
He said that Abid had entered the district court premises on February 26, but exited without detonating his suicide jacked for fear of being arrested by police at the court. He said that he had been followed by intelligence agencies and then arrested at the militants’ Imam Dheri complex. He said the police had also recovered eight “piles” of improvised explosives and suicide jackets from the same place. The Kabal Police Station registered an FIR against Abid on charges of terrorism and the boy was currently detained in a Swat prison, he added.
Salim said that the CRC had launched a campaign to apprise parents of the region about the issue of child militancy. He said the militants had forced several medical centres to shut down, including a non-governmental organisation ‘Plan Pakistan’, claiming that these centres were carrying out the US’ anti-Islam agenda.