By Shailaja Neelakantan
The Pakistani government has decided to shut all federally run schools, colleges, and universities—more than 400 in all—until October 25, following Tuesday’s deadly suicide-bomb attacks on International Islamic University, near Islamabad, the capital.
Many private schools and colleges have also decided to close temporarily.
International Islamic University enrolls 18,000 students, including about 2,000 international students, many of whom are from China, the Associated Press reported. While the university is a seat of Islamic learning, most students also take secular courses like management science or computer studies, the news agency said.
The attacks came a few days after the Pakistani military conducted a series of assaults on a Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan, an insurgent region of the country. Authorities believe that a recent series of bombings and assaults in Pakistan are the work of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Islamabad’s residents have repeatedly asked the government to move law-enforcement agencies that are located near schools and colleges away from the campuses to keep students and faculty members out of harm’s way, reported the Daily Times newspaper.
Meanwhile, major educational institutions in the city are without adequate security arrangements and lack even properly armed security guards, the newspaper said. For instance, Punjab University has only 160 guards for 30,000 students, and the Government College University said it has only a few armed guards for its 6,000-student campus.