Pakistan province closes all schools amid cold weather

Officials say Pakistan's most populous province has ordered for schools to be closed for five days

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Pakistani children arrive at their school in Peshawar

Pakistani officals said on Tuesday that several days of bad weather conditions in Pakistan has affected social life and the education system, therefore schools will be closed for five days.

About 22.5 million students will stay at home, this time not for security reasons but due to cold weather conditions, said officals.

Punjab province Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said a large number of children were catching the flu and pneumonia as temperatures fell to as low as four degrees Celsius (39.2°F) in the capital, Lahore, and a severe shortage of gas left schools unable to heat themselves.

"Two days ago, parents complained about the harshness of weather and diseases to children," Khan told Reuters.

"The meteorological office, too, told the government that the wave of extreme cold would continue for another three to four days. We took all stakeholders in confidence and made the decision to announce holidays," he added.

Khan denied that the province's approximately 100,000 government and private schools were being closed due to militant threats, despite recent warnings that militants were planning to attack educational institutions.

A deadly attack by Pakistani Taliban gunmen on Bacha Khan University in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last week has increased concern about the threat to schools and colleges.

Meanwhile, schools in the northwest had closed the previous weekend, before the raid.

The attack, claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, bore a chilling resemblance to a December 2014 massacre at a school in nearby Peshawar that triggered a crackdown on militants that had been credited with a palpable improvement in security.

TRTWorld and agencies