Academic institutions reopen in the capital

ISLAMABAD: The government-run schools and colleges reopened on Wednesday in the capital after a very long time due to the sit-ins.After the extensions in the summer vacations due to the protests in the city, the authorities announced to reopen 33 education institutions. The reports said that 27 of the 33 institutions are still occupied by the police personnel that were called in the capital from different cities of Punjab and Azad Kashmir to tackle the protest marches of PTI and PAT. Thin attendance was witnessed in the government-run schools and colleges on the first. The protests led by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri have disrupted life in the capital since August 15 and heaped pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, raising the spectre of military intervention in the country. Three days of clashes between the police and demonstrators demanding Sharif’s resignation have left three dead and nearly 500 injured.Besides the reopening of the schools, the colourful cultural activities at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) have been stopped due to the ongoing sit-ins of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in the Red Zone, as all roads leading towards the PNCA have been blocked by the city administration. After the arrival of the protesters in the Red Zone in particular and the capital in general, the PNCA could not materialise its programmes. The only event that took place as per the schedule on the night of August 13, in the Red Zone was the parade of armed forces that also included an air show.An official of the PNCA said on Wednesday that due to these prolonged sit-ins, the activities at the PNCA in connection with the Independence Day celebrations have been direly affected, as the government had announced month-long celebrations this year, which are being held in other cities of the country except the capital. He said that the Information Ministry ordered the PNCA to arrange special events related to the Independence Day during the month of August and the PNCA administration had arranged several events on daily basis. Keeping in view, the instructions of the ministry, the PNCA had started making arrangements and had even paid advance money to different performers who participated in the rehearsals of the events.He stated that the PNCA could only arrange a few events out of its list of programmes in the first week of August. He said that the PNCA arranged a few events and performers were ready to perform in different plays but most of the guests and the invited people could not reach the PNCA auditorium due to the hurdles erected on the roads and the PNCA administration had to cancel the events. He said that the PNCA had generated good revenue from the events related to Independence Day in the past but this year, the sit-ins had severely affected its income. He said that since the protesters entered the Red Zone, the PNCA employee’s attendance has not been more than 30 percent and these sit-ins disturbed the work of the PNCA directly and indirectly. Ali Bilal, a musician said that these sit-ins had totally disrupted the cultural and musical activities in the twin cities. “Whenever, there is a political rift in the country, the cultural and entertainment activities suffer the most as the musical and cultural activities are only arranged in normal situations,” he added. Ahsan Ali, a local resident and employee of a private organisation said, “These sit-ins have badly affected the daily lives of the students, patients, labourers, business community, and others.” 

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