Students and staff members in large number returned to the university in a poignant symbol of perseverance despite the horrors they had endured.
The decision to reopen the university was taken in a meeting on Friday chaired by Bacha Khan University Vice Chancellor Fazal Raheem Marwat.
The meeting was attended by Charsadda District Police Officer (DPO) Suhail Khalid, DSP Raza Mohammad, Director for Administration Dr. Shakeel Khan and other university staff members.
“I am very happy to announce that the university has been re-opened today but amid very strict security,” the university s vice chancellor Fazal Rahim Marwat told AFP.
He said the university was re-opened with an objective “to defeat the mindset of militants, which was behind the terrorist attack of January 20”.
Marwat said the university had set up special camps for the psychological treatment of traumatised students.
At the university, police and elite commandos were seen taking up positions over rooftops, while students were made to pass through body scanners and frisked before entering.
University spokesperson Saeed Khan said that 20 new security guards are being deployed for BKU‘s security.
Watchtowers will be installed at a distance of 100 metres at the campus, he said.
Vehicles and ID cards of the students are being strictly checked while police vehicles are continuously patrolling outside the university to ensure full security.
“We have come to the university today with a firm commitment to uphold sacrifices of our fellow students,” said Rehmat Ullah, 20, a student of Bio-technology department.
Iftikhar Alam, a university professor, added: “We are starting classes today to make it clear to the world that we are ready to defeat our enemies and those who want to plunge Pakistan into darkness and illiteracy.”
On January 20, militants from a breakaway Taliban group stormed the university in the northwestern town of Charsadda, setting off an hours-long gunbattle with security forces.
All four attackers who took part in the Charsadda assault were killed. Over the weekend, authorities announced the arrest of five others suspected of involvement.
After the incident, the university had submitted a list of demands to the government, including the extension of the perimeter fence to 10 feet (three meters) high, the clearing of farmland within 100 feet (30 meters) of the campus and the widening of the main road to the school.
The attack revived memories of the December 2014 Taliban assault on a nearby army-run school in Peshawar, which killed some 150 people, nearly all of them children.
Pakistan has been fighting terrorism since 2004, when militants displaced by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began a campaign against Pakistani forces in the country‘s border tribal areas.
Overall levels of violence have fallen since a concerted military push against the Taliban‘s bases that began in 2014.
Last year saw the fewest number of civilian and security forces casualties to militant attacks since 2007 — the year the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban group was formed — though the threat of attacks, particularly on “soft targets” like schools, remains.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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