Educational institutes in Swat to reopen Saturday

July 31st, 2009 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Peshawar, July 31 (IANS) All educational institutions in the war-affected areas of Swat and two other districts in Pakistan’s restive northwest will reopen Saturday, with teachers being directed to ensure their attendance or face strict departmental action.
The North West Frontier Province (NWFP) education department Friday directed teachers to ensure their attendance in the schools, Online news agency reported.

Classes would initially be held in tents till the 250-odd school buildings in Swat, Buner and Upper Dir districts that the Taliban had destroyed were reconstructed. No fees would be charged from the students.

NWFP Law Minister Arshad Abdullah said the situation in Swat and the other two districts was fast improving and the administration was making efforts for restoring basic services. Hospitals and banks would also reopen within a week, he added.

The Pakistani security forces had April 26 launched a major offensive against the Taliban in the NWFP’s Malakand division - which includes Swat, Buner, Lower Dir and four other districts - after they reneged on a controversial peace deal with the provincial government.

Under the deal, the militants were to lay down their arms in return for the imposition of Sharia laws in the Malakand division. Instead, they moved south from their Swat headquarters and occupied Buner district that is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun in Lower Dir, the home district of radical cleric Sufi Mohammad, who had brokered the peace deal and who is the father-in-law of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah. The operations, which have now all but concluded, later spread to Buner and Swat.

Some three million civilians were displaced by the fighting. Large numbers of them have now begun to return home.

The military says over 1,500 Taliban were killed in the fighting.

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