2,000 students continue to suffer as ‘blasphemy school’ still shut
By Arsalan Haider
LAHORE: The blasphemy-charged Farooqi Girls High School has been unable to reopen even after seven days of the closure. Hundreds of students are suffering due to the closure. Some 2,000 students are eager to re-continue their studies.
The school was suspended after the angry mob set it on fire on October 31. The premises came under attack after an alleged blasphemy case by a teacher who, while giving an assignment to students, had unintentionally mixed words from different pages. This led to the blasphemy controversy.
However, on the very next day, the City District Government Lahore was given the administrative control of the school and Additional Commissioner General was appointed as its administrative. On the other side, the students and their parents held a protest outside school building for release of Principal Asim Farooqi and early reopening of the school.
Carrying placards “Asim is lover of Prophet (PBUH)”, “Release our spiritual father Asim”, “Sir Asim is innocent” “Future of students on stake”, and “Open our school” students demanded Punjab and City government to open their school otherwise they would launch a protest campaign.
Talking to Daily Times, students, parents and local urged the education department, city government to make necessary arrangements to provide them continuous education. Akifa, a student, said that the closure is only academic loss of students and no one else is suffering, therefore the high ups are requested to save our future, release our teacher and hand over the school to him as he knows better how to run the school rather than the government. She while showing concern said that she fears, if government would take over the administrative control of school, the school’s result, standard of education and quality of teaching system would decrease.
A local said that its awful situation that even after taking notice by Commissioner Jawad Pervaiz Rafiq, there seems to be no development in the blasphemy controversy. He added that the government seems to be not serious in opening the school. According to him the controversy was created to damage the reputation and strong education system of the school.
Mother of another student, Fatima, said that the government has claimed about educational reforms in Punjab, but the negligency is that it has been unable to re-open this school even after taking its control. She said that being herself a schoolteacher she better understands the academic loss of the students. She demanded that the chief minister and the chief justice both take notice of the loss of study of the children and order their team to provide better education to students.
Despite several phone calls, Daily Times was unable to contact DCO Noorul Amin Mengal, PS to DCO Tariq Zaman and EDO Education Pervaiz Malik for their comments on the issue.