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‘School students in trouble after crossing ban’

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By Shamim Shahid-PESHAWAR: The continuous but even now prolonged closure of Pak Afghan crossing has badly affected over 350 school students from Afghanistan who were enrolled in two private institutions in Torkham, Khyber Agency.

Amongst these students nine were students of 9th and 10th classes, who were not allowed to sit for the Secondary School Certificate (SCC) examinations commencing from Wednesday (today) March 15th. Now closure of the Pak Afghan crossing and growing tension lead to wasting of 10 years efforts on the part of these helpless students.

The crossing was closed by Pakistani authorities on February 16th last in the wake of deadly terrorist acts in Lahore, Sehwan Sharif Sindh, Peshawar and several other places. But one of the school teacher reminded that border authorities have stopped entry of these Afghan students on February 11th last.

According to details collected from different sources, there are two private schools operating in Pakistan’s Torkham since along. Around 240 students from Afghanistan territory are enrolled in Pakistan International School and 113 are in Oxford Public School. Nine of all these are students of Secondary classes who now deprived of sitting for examinations.

Enrolment of Afghan students in private schools is not new as even during former Soviet Union backed Afghan regime of Dr Najib Ullah, the Afghan children were allowed to get education in government schools at Torkham and Landi Kotal.

Now when the Pak Afghan crossing is closed on Feb. 16th, 2017 due to deadly terrorist and violent acts, the Afghan students are enable to continue schooling. Abdul Razzaq a teacher in Torkham when contacted said, “since sealing of crossing they made frequent requests to Pakistani authorities to let these students to attend classes and sit in examination.

The teacher further said that couple of days back, the school management called on Political Tehsildar and officers of Khyber Rifles and requested them to let the 9th and 10th class students to attend examination. But late on Tuesday afternoon they were informed that the Afghan students are not allowed to attend the schools or sit in examinations.

In response to a question, the teacher said that all Afghan students every day calling the management and eagerly waiting for opening of the crossing. But the school management and teachers are helpless.

Zar Ali Khan Afrifdi, Chairman of Tribal NGO’s consortium when contacted by this scribe has expressed sever concern over denial of schooling to Afghan students which he said is against of UN charter. He said that closing of Pak Afghan crossing for trade and travelling is also violation of international laws. He urged Pakistani authorities to review its policies and order early re-opening of Pak Afghan crossings.