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Hijab is Now Compulsory in Azad Kashmir Co-Education Institutions

According to sources, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) education administration has mandated that female employees and students in coed institutions wear a hijab. The 24 February circular stated that female academics and students were expected to wear the hijab due to evidence that it was not being observed at co-ed schools.

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The circular emphasised that the heads of institutes who did not uphold this policy would face disciplinary action.

The circular was sent to all three divisional directors and all ten district education officials for clearance before being sent out to academic institutions between March 2 and March 4.

The AJK Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education recognised the circular when contacted for comment and mentioned that the hijab is now a required piece of attire for female students and teachers at co-educational schools.

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The Minister continued by stating that parents and teachers were consulted before the decision was made. He added that women would be admitted to co-educational institutions in some rural places where separate upper secondary and high schools for women could not be created.

A clothing code for teachers and the hijab for female students and staff had been put in place to allay parental concerns.

The Minister added that teachers would initially wear robes for identification across the province before switching to uniforms in the second phase.

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According to him, hijab should ideally be required in colleges, but since college students are generally older than high school students, this restriction has only been upheld in upper secondary and high schools.

The Minister emphasized that the decision to adopt hijab was made in accordance with Islamic precepts, as women are required to wear a veil and males are mandated to lower their gaze.

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