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Agriculture institute to resume academic activities from Feb 6 amid security concerns – Pakistan

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Academic activities at the Agricultural Training Institute, Peshawar, which has been renamed Agriculture Services Academy, will start from February 6 following a two-month gap in the wake of the terror attack in which nine people including students were killed and 37 injured.

According to the notification issued by Principal Zulfiqar Ali, the institute will reopen on Tuesday. However, the security situation of the institute still remains bleak.

An official of the institute told DawnNews they had hired three former service personnel and bought four shotguns, but now the provincial authorities were not issuing permits for those guns. “But soon we will apply for licences,” he added.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Department had denied their request for the issuance of automatic weapons, after which the institute approached the office of Commissioner Peshawar which referred the application to the police department. Currently, the application is pending approval by the police department.

The building still bears marks of the horrific incident. —photo by author

The government has also failed to release the funds required for installation of CCTV cameras, building a protection wall, and making other security arrangements. At the time of the attack, the institute had only six watchmen and no properly trained security guard.

Police had conducted a security audit of the premises on December 20 soon, after the incident, in which the security setup was marked below satisfactory and several recommendations were made to enhance the security apparatus. This included induction of 20 trained security guards, procurement of automatic weapons, installation of CCTV cameras across the institute and building a 13-feet-high security wall among others.

Meanwhile, the building still bears the marks of the horrific incident which took nine lives.

According to the security audit report signed by DSP Abdus Salam Khalid, there are seven buildings in the premises of which several are government offices. Moreover, 400 students are enrolled in the institute, of which 220 stay at the hostel. Besides, 200 family members live in the residential colony and there are around 200 members of staff.

The building still bears marks of the horrific incident. —photo by author

Institute’s Vice-Principal Kamaluddin told DawnNews that the repair and renovation work of the building has not been completed following the December 1 attack due to lack of funds.

An estimate of Rs50 million was put forward by the institute to carry out the recommended security procedures and take up the renovation work, however, so far no funds have been released, the vice principal said.

Moreover, the provincial government has also not disbursed the compensation money despite the passage of two months.

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