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NO LESSON LEARNED; A YEAR ON PAKISTAN FAIL TO CURB HATE SCHOOLS; Experts urge action against extremist madrasas.

Byline: Billy Briggs

Pakistan has failed to bring in a crackdown on Taliban extremists promised in the wake of a school massacre, terrorism experts have warned.

As the first anniversary of the atrocity at the Army Public School in Peshawar approaches this week, the hardline madrasas preaching hate remain open.

And the experts say more Taliban massacres are likely because of the failure to root out the extremists.

They gave the stark warning as Pakistan prepared to remember the 132 children and 18 adults slaughtered at the school last December 16.

As the world mourned the victims last year, the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility and threatened to kill more children.

The threat prompted Pakistan's government to call for a crackdown.

But terror expert Dr Khadim Hussein said nothing had been done to tackle several hundred madrasas - religious schools - preaching extremist views in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, of which Peshawar is the capital.

Hussein, who wrote a book called The Militant Discourse: Religious Militancy in Pakistan, said: "The federal government and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial government announced they would go for reforms of textbooks and curriculum of madrasas but so far there is no progress.

"Several hundred madrasas across KP continue to flourish.

"Until the extremist narrative is challenged, militant economy choked and the policy of using private militias for foreign policy objectives stopped, the hydra-headed monster will continue to strike."

Dr Rudra Chaudhuri, of the Department of War Studies and India Institute at King's College, London, said: "The problem of extremist madrasas has not been addressed."

Working undercover in January, the Sunday Mail gained entry to two militant madrasas in KP including Panjpir, where the Pakistan Taliban's leader - Maulana Fazlullah - studied.

Pakistan's government insist action has been taken with interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claiming 87 madrasas in Sindh, 13 in KP and two in Punjab have been shut down.

But Hussein said: "I think no madrasa of known affiliation with an extremist outfit has been closed in Sindh or KP.

in "Some might have been probed but not closed."

Last week, Pakistan's security services were criticised for preventing reporters from investigating claims that one of the killers in the shootings in San Bernardino, California, had attended a female madrasa.

They wanted to investigate the background of Tashfeen Malik, who was born in Pakistan.

Pray for us and for our lost boy, Scotland VICTIM'S FAMILY The parents of a schoolboy murdered in the Peshawar massacre have asked people in Scotland to pray for them.

Irum Anees and Tahir Aneez Malik lost their only son Hammad, 14.

His sister, Kashaf, now 13, was in a different wing of the school that day and survived.

Last night, Tahir said there were a number of memorial events planned in Peshawar this week. He added: "The last year has been very difficult for us to survive but we have, with the grace of God, who gives us a lot of patience and support.

"As Muslims, we believe that everyone has to go on one day from this world.

"Kashaf is fine and goes to school with confidence. She wants to achieve her brother's dreams academically. We salute our proud martyr Hammad. May God give him highest rank in Heaven.

"Please pray for us that God gives us more patience and courage to bear this heartbreaking loss."

The Pakistan embassy in London said: "There will be several commemorative events throughout Pakistan, particularly in Peshawar.

"The KP province has already announced a public holiday on December 16."

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BLOODSHED A hall at the school

ANGUISH Tahir, Irum and Kashaf Picture Angela Catlin
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 13, 2015
Words:599
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