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Pakistan: Self defence groups

Wednesday 4 February 2015, by siawi3

PESHAWAR, February 3, 2015

In self-defence, Pak. teachers take up arms


When Pakistani Taliban militants stormed a Peshawar school and massacred 150 children and teachers, nobody could fight back.
Shabnam Tabinda and some of her fellow teachers want to change that and are practicing how to shoot terrorists.
Government authorities in Pakistan’s northwest frontier have given permission for teachers to carry concealed firearms in response to the Dec. 16 attack in Peshawar that became one of the deadliest terrorist strikes in Pakistani history. Many educators reject the idea of arming teachers as reckless and counterproductive, reflecting the kind of arguments in U.S. school systems overshadowed by their own occasional mass shootings.
But for teachers like 37-year-old Tabinda, going to work unarmed no longer feels like an option. She and 10 other women teachers at the Frontier College for Women are taking pride in their newfound marksmanship with handguns, and plan to carry them to help protect their students aged 16 to 21.
Asked whether she felt confident of killing a terrorist at her school, Ms. Tabinda was emphatic in reply: “Yes. Whoever kills innocents, God willing I will shoot them.â€
Mushtuq Ghani, the Higher Education Minister in the Khyber Paktunkhwa provincial government based in Peshawar, says its Cabinet supports the arming of teachers as a logical measure given the reality that the region’s 65,000 police are stretched too thin to provide a first line of defence to nearly 50,000 schools. Terrorists need to know that schools aren’t defenceless, and armed teachers could potentially hold off gunmen and buy time for police reinforcements to arrive, he said. Teachers would need to provide their own legally licensed firearms, which many already possess to defend their homes.
“We’re at war,†he said.
Some teachers licensed and trained to carry firearms already have begun bringing them into their classrooms.
But other provinces have not followed Peshawar’s plan to permit teachers to carry a concealed gun. Muzammal Khan, provincial president of the All Teachers Association in Peshawar, said students already were scared by the increased security measures, and seeing their teachers armed would increase anxiety unnecessarily.
Fresh from her own two-day course learning, Ms. Tabinda said her family had already suffered enough from Taliban terrorism.
When she fired her first shot at a paper target, she said her police instructor was impressed that she hit the bull’s-eye, depicting the chest of a human target. Ms. Tabinda said she was visualising the Taliban killers behind December’s school slaughter as she fired.
“I hit them right in their hearts,†she said. — AP