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Capital’s Schools Shut Down Amidst Heightened Security Alert

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ISLAMABAD: In response to a security alert issued by the security agencies, a significant number of private educational institutions, including prestigious universities, were shut down indefinitely in the federal capital on Monday.

Notable closures included National Defence University (NDU), Air University, and Bahria University, along with various private schools. Parents received messages from school administrations advising them to pick up their children early.

While private institutions took precautionary measures, the Federal Directorate of Education could not reach a decision regarding the closure of government educational institutions. Despite concerns, government schools in Islamabad remained open, causing worry among parents.

Meanwhile, an advisory has been issued to enhance security measures in private educational institutions in the federal capital, emphasising a strict ban on visitors, thorough security checks, reporting any suspicious activity to security agencies, installation of CCTV cameras, and the placement of barbed wire on boundary walls.

“All private education institutions (PEIs) in Islamabad are advised to ensure following safety measures for the safety and wellbeing of students: Impose complete ban on visitors/outsiders in school premises, ensure security and proper checking of staff, any kind of suspected (person/bag etc) should immediately be reported to the security agencies, security cameras (CCTV) should be installed and monitored properly, barbed wire should be installed on boundary walls,” the advisory read.

The Ministry of Education’s spokesperson remarked, “So far, the ministry has not received any notification to close the schools,” adding an element of uncertainty to the situation.

‘Situation under control’

Addressing the situation, the Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) assured the public, in a video statement, that the law and order situation was under control. He urged people not to alter their daily routines or educational activities due to unsubstantiated fears.

Dr Akbar Nasir emphasised the ban on illegal gatherings in the federal capital, reassuring citizens that the police would ensure security. Despite ongoing security concerns, he urged the public not to succumb to rumours and to maintain normalcy in their lives.

On the other hand, caretaker federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi said security alerts were issued on threats to people’s lives and relevant institutions were taking measures for public safety.

Talking to the media, the minister said in the past general elections were successfully conducted despite security issues in the country and there was no problem in conducting the upcoming general elections.

The minister, citing the examples of the 2008 and 2013 elections, remarked that despite serious security problems these elections were held in the country. He urged the people to have faith in the capabilities of the security agencies and assured the general elections would be held on February 8.