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Indian declared Pakistan a No School-Going Mission

25 July, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: The Indian government has declared Pakistan a “No School-Going Mission,” asking the staff members of the Indian High Commission (IHC) to either return or send their school going children back to India.

The campuses are closed owing to summer vacation, and the sources confirmed the young Indian nationals would not attend the school when they open next month. The decision has sent shockwaves to Pakistani diplomatic circles, which fear it would further strain the already strained relations between the two South Asian neighbours.

The decision by the Indian authorities would compel many staffers of the IHC, in Islamabad, to return for the sake of the education of their children. In case they wish to continue to serve the IHC, they must send their children back to India.

Sources said the IHC had already communicated the decision to Pakistan’s Foreign Office and the school authorities. Both the Foreign Office and the school authorities requested the Indian government to review the decision, but it refused.

Around 50 children of the IHC staff members were enrolled in the International School of Islamabad (ISOI), popularly known as American School. The school is one of the two education institutions where the Indian government allows the IHC staff members to get their children enrolled for education. The school is famous for accommodating the children of foreign nationals residing in Pakistan. Most of diplomats serving in Islamabad have their children attend the same school.

Around 10 children of the IHC staff members are enrolled in Roots International School.

One of the major concerns of the Indian government was the security of their young nationals. After a horrendous attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, the Indian authorities were planning to declare Pakistan a “No School-Going Mission”. Under this criterion the diplomatic staff is not allowed to make their school-going children stay with them. The spouses are allowed to stay, but it generally becomes rather difficult for the parents to stay away from their children.

It is worth mentioning that ISOI maintains foolproof security measures. “The school looks like a fortress and pays for its own private security. Besides, the Islamabad police are very vigilant around the premises. Yet you cannot ignore the risk factor,” observed a diplomat requesting anonymity.

Another reason that forced the Indian government to make such a harsh decision was restriction on the free movement of the Indian students. Sources said whenever the school administration planned a trip outside Islamabad the Indian students have to seek prior approval from the Pakistani Foreign Office. Sometimes the approval is granted and sometimes it isn’t.

Sources said that American diplomats tried to woo their Indian counterparts to press their government to review the decision. However, they failed to impress upon them. A Pakistani diplomat feared the Pakistani students whose parents work in Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi might face the similar situation in India.

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