It seems that the KP government and the police have placed the entire onus of protecting schools from terrorist attacks onto the shoulders of the watchmen by providing them with shotguns – which, if they feel inept to use, can be used by a relative in their stead. It almost sounds like a joke made in bad taste rather than a well thought out directive in an ominous situation. Apart from the obvious, there are many issues with this instruction.

The elementary and secondary education department has directed all schools to let the watchman bring any of his relatives trained to fire weapons if the concerned watchman is unfit to handle a weapon, and that is apparently all that is required to get a firearm licensed to him. No background checks for security will be needed, which means that it will be easier to get firearms than ever before. If anything, this directive adds to the problem instead of doing something to increase security. Flooding the province with more guns is not exactly the solution we have been hoping for. At this point the KP government will not surprise anyone with their ‘sound-mindedness’, as we have now heard it all, from training students to shoot guns to arming watchmen and their relatives with licensed shotguns – all within the budget of 10,000 rupees per annum for each classroom.

It is time the government stops shifting responsibility on the education department or on any stranger who can fire a gun, to protect the lives of the children of their province. The education department is supposed to provide books not guns. Just ensuring that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as deploying guards, raising boundary walls and installing close circuit TV cameras are being followed by all educational institutions, would be a good starting point. Issuing nonsense directives such as the most recent one are an insult to the victims who have lost their lives to senseless terrorism and show a lack of real commitment to prevent more attacks – such as those on APS and BKU – from happening again.