PESHAWAR -- Security of educational institutions all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has been upgraded following militant threats and with the start of the new academic year.
“Twenty special Anti-Terrorist Squad and Elite Police force units have been deployed across the district to keep a check on the security of schools, colleges and universities,” Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Abbas Majeed Marwat told Pakistan Forward.
Each of the units includes 6 or 7 specially trained police commandos, he said.
“In addition, all the sub divisional officers have been directed to conduct a security audit and inspection of the educational institutions on daily basis,” Marwat said.
The SSP along with other officers have paid dozens of visits to the schools, colleges and universities of the provincial capital to inspect their security arrangements.
School security was enhanced following the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed over 140 people, a majority of them children. In addition, Bacha Khan University also came under attack in January 2016, resulting in 21 people killed and many others injured.
“We have raised the boundary walls of the government-run schools while barbed wire has also been placed so no one can scale these walls from the back side,” KP Education Minister Atif Khan told Pakistan Forward.
The KP government also has trained security guards of a number of schools to help ensure protection of school buildings and millions of children, he said.
In Swabi and other districts, police commandos conducted mock exercises during August and September to check the level of alertness of police and guards at the universities, colleges and schools.
There are 1,300 schools, colleges and universities in Kohat, according to District Police Officer Kohat Muhammad Sohaib Ashraf.
“All the officers and their teams have been directed to patrol the vicinity of these educational institutions frequently from morning to afternoon,” he told Pakistan Forward.
School management also has been directed to take additional measures, including the installation of security cameras, walk-through security gates and hiring properly trained guards.
“With such a huge number of schools, it is not possible for police to guard all these buildings alone,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Dir Upper Muhammad Usman during a meeting on August 27 directed the Education Department and other concerned entities to enhance security of all their buildings.
Around the same time, KP Inspector General of Police Nasir Khan Durrani during a meeting at the central police office directed all regional police officers to step up security of educational institutions in their areas.
"All the regional and district police officers should personally check the security of educational institutions in their area to make sure adequate measures are taken," he said.
In May and June, a number of cases were registered against the management of schools for not arranging adequate security despite directives from the police and the government.
Police also provided schools with temporary permits for their guards to carry weapons for security.
“We have hired two guards equipped with automatic rifles, besides scaling our walls and erecting razor-wire on the boundary walls,” said Jehanzeb Khan, principal of a private school in Peshawar.
Both the police and the school's management are making all efforts to ensure security in and around schools, he said.