ISLAMABAD " The closure of hundreds of girls schools in Swat District after threats from local Taliban has drawn swift attention of MNAs both from the Opposition and the government in National Assembly on Thursday. Expressing its grave concern over the law and order situation in Swat, Opposition on Friday asked the government to come up with a clear policy about restive NWFP and tribal territories. Speaking on a point of order, PML-N MNA Ayaz Mir said that the owners of girls schools had started closing down institutions after Taliban directives in District Swat. "Government's writ has ended in Swat. Our leaders cannot visit Swat while US leadership visits Afghanistan and Iraq", he said. He said that more than one Division of Pakistan Army had been deployed in District Swat and demanded that the government should not only arrange visits of MNAs to Swat but also clearly state its policy. Amir Muqam, MNA PML-Q told the National Assembly that more than 1400 people had lost their lives in different incidents of violence in Swat. "Swat is facing violence more than being carried out in Palestine. There are no schools in Swat. Not only girls' but also boys' schools have been destroyed there and the people are being slaughtered", he said. PML-N MNA Ahsan Iqbal said that Taliban were tarnishing the image of Islam by closing schools in District Swat although the educational services of Hazrat Ayesha were an example for us. "Women are not being allowed to visit markets and it is not right to link tribal customs with Islam," he said. PML-Q MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram told the Lower House that if the security forces could not do anything, then the residents of District Swat were left under Taliban's cruelty. Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman while replying on point of order of MNAs told the National Assembly that the government could not tolerate attacks on schools. "We would not allow anyone to close schools. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani have taken notice of the issue. No one would be allowed to challenge Government's writ. Strict action would be taken against those responsible for it but it is not easy", she said. She asked Parliament and nation to strengthen government's hand while parliamentarians should table unanimous resolution on the situation of Swat. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani underlined that the government had distributed relief cheques worth more than Rs 3 billion among the quake victims of Balochistan. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed these views while responding to various questions of the parliamentarians in National Assembly. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was of the view that the government was taking down to earth measures to provide relief to the downtrodden affectees of Balochistan on emergency and priority basis. He further told the House that the government had distributed relief cheques worth more than Rs 3 billion among the quake victims of Balochistan while keeping a close eye on the reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the areas of Ziarat and Quetta. The Prime Minister said that due to bad weather, work to reconstruct houses in the affected areas would take some time. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi told the House that a summary to amend the law to enhance the amount of fine and punishment for the companies publishing the Holy Quran on substandard paper had been sent to the Law Ministry and draft bill would be tabled in National Assembly as soon as any progress was made on this count. He said this to a calling attention notice from Yasmin Rehman in the National Assembly. The Minister said that the Quran act was in place and it was being implemented. "Violators of this act are punished under law of the land. Under this act companies using substandard papers are awarded 3 years' imprisonment and fine of Rs 5,000", he added. Meanwhile, strongly dispelling the impression of differences between the President and the Prime Minister, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman on Friday said that PPP considered criticism as part of democracy and had never ever used violence to curb it. "The government is pursuing zero tolerance policy towards acts of terrorism and I urge the political forces to stay united to fight the menace", she said while talking to media persons at the Parliament House. Denouncing the attacks on girls' schools in Malakand and Swat, Sherry said that it was against the traditions and injunctions of Islam. She said that the federal government was in constant touch with the NWFP government to ensure protection of girls' educational institutions in the troubled areas. "Violence against innocent civilians, particularly women, would never be tolerated at any cost. A resolution will also be passed in the National Assembly for the condemnation of such acts against women", she stated. Sherry Rehman also said that directives had also been issued to PEMRA to block the transmission of all illegal FM channels operating in the tribal areas. Sherry Rehman further stated that PPP considered criticism as part of democracy and the government valued constructive criticism, as it is vital for it to improve the government's affairs. She dispelled the impression of any differences between the President and the Prime Minister and urged the politicians to support the government for the solution of national issues. Responding a question, Sherry Rehman said that a committee, comprising newspapers owners and ministries of Labour and Information, would soon mull to solve problems being faced by the journalists. She said that all the injustices of the private sector of which most of the journalists fall victims, would be addressed and her ministry was in contact with owners of all newspapers and journalists would hear good news soon. Agencies add: Tens of thousands of students in Swat Valley are facing a year without classes after the local Taliban banned girls from schools, officials said Friday. Last month, a local Taliban commander threatened to kill any girls attending classes after January 15, and to blow up any schools where girls are enrolled. As a result, about 400 private schools are unlikely to open their doors next month after winter holidays, leaving tens of thousands of students with no educational options, the officials said. "We have informed the authorities that the Taliban threats have put the future of our students in jeopardy. Tens of thousands will be deprived of education," Education Ministry official Sher Afzal said. He said up to 50,000 students could be affected. Ziauddin Yusufzai, spokesman for an association of private school owners in Swat, said the resumption of classes was in doubt. "They were due to reopen in early February, but after the Taliban warning, it seems impossible now for us to resume classes," Yusufzai told AFP. "The government has assured us it will provide security but it is a question of the lives of the students and we cannot take a risk," he said. The scenic valley of snow-capped mountains, once a popular tourist resort, has been rocked by a violent campaign waged by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who has links to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. His followers have blown up 168 schools, including 104 for girls, since security forces launched an operation against militants in the region in 2007, Afzal said. "We will need millions of dollars to rebuild these schools," the official said. The valley has more than 600 state-run schools, in addition to the 400 private schools. Yusufzai said winter holidays could be extended until March as a stopgap solution, in the hopes that the security situation will improve. Fazlullah's spokesman Haji Muslim Khan said the burning of schools in Swat was the Taliban's direct response to military operations. "We attack and destroy government property when the security forces bomb and burn our houses," he said in a recent statement. Fazlullah and his commanders have said in messages broadcast on their illegal radio station that country's British-inspired education system does not conform to Islamic norms. Pakistan's umbrella Taliban organisation in a statement Friday distanced itself from the threat from the local commander, saying it was not against the education of boys or girls. "We do not agree with the ban on education in Swat," Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, said in a statement. "We are in contact with Maulana Fazlullah and we hope an announcement to withdraw the decision will be made soon on his FM radio."