The administration of a leading chain of private schools has closed all its educational institutions before the scheduled summer vocations after receiving threatening calls from extortionists, according to sources.
They said that the decision of closing the schools was taken for the security of the students as the owners were receiving threatening calls from extortionists.
“For around one-and-half year, the extortionists have been targeting traders, doctors and industrialists. Now they have started demanding money from the owners of educational institutions,” sources said.
They said that extortionists were demanding extortion from the people, who had established several schools and colleges in Peshawar and other parts of the province. “The owners, who are facing threats, are considered the pioneers of private schools in Peshawar to impart quality education to thousands of students,” they added.
With the closure of all educational institutions of the prominent chain of schools, two to three weeks of thousands of students would go waste.
According to the summer vacations schedule of elementary and secondary education, primary schools will remain closed from June 1 to August 31 while the secondary schools will remain closed from June 15 to August 31. Presently all the private schools are open as those will be closed for summer vacation at the end of June.
An owner of the school, when contacted, denied that the schools were closed because of security concerns. He said that schools were closed for summer vocations.
When he was reminded of the explosion of an improvised explosive device inside a school in Peshawar, he expressed ignorance about any such incident.
However, the first information report (FIR) of the incident was registered on May 20 in Paharipura police station on the complaint of the principal of the same school system. The building of the school located on Dalazak Road was partially damaged in the explosion.
The principal of the school had told police that someone hurled an improvised explosive device at the school. The windowpanes and gate of the school were damaged in the blast, according to police. The explosive device weighed around three kilograms.
Senior Superintendent of Police Najeebur Rehman, when contacted, confirmed that owners of the private schools received threats. “I have called the owners for a meeting on Monday to discuss the nature of threats to them,” he said.
The SSP said that he had asked the owners of the schools to keep liaison with the police stations concerned.
He said that police had already instructed the owners of private schools to install close circuit cameras and hire services of security guards. “It is not responsibility of the government to provide security to the private schools,” he added.
Secondly, the official said, it was responsibility of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to jam the roaming of Afghanistan-based cellular phone companies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it was used in the incidents of extortion.
On May 28, the headmistress of a middle school for girls in Kaptan Kallay area received injuries when unidentified gunmen fired at her when she was travelling on Charsadda-Mardan Road.
After the incident, the family sources of the injured teacher said that she had received threats through cellular phone as well as written chits. They said unidentified persons were demanding Rs5 million from her as extortion.