Islamist Group Forces schools to close in Pakistan

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Quetta: Thousands of women, children and activists marched in Pakistan’s volatile province of Baluchistan in a protest against a campaign by an Islamist group to force schools to shut down across the region.

Tanzeemul Islam-ul-Furqan (Organization of Islam for the Koran), a little-known group that has been setting schools on fire and distributing threatening leaflets against girls’ and Western-style education in Baluchistan, a vast province bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

“At least 35 private schools and 30 language centers have been shut down in the districts of Panjgur and Turbat for well over a week, but government schools are open,” Mohammad Ayub, a local education official, told Reuters.

“Apparently they have been allowed to function because their enrolment of female students is very small.”

Two days later, the terroristsattacked two schools in a nearby area, setting them on fire, he said.