The captive audience
LAHORE, Nov 7: Children of all Lahore government high schools, who were transported to fill the National Hockey Stadium on the occasion of the International Youth Festival’s inauguration here on Wednesday, were kept at the place much beyond their physical capacity.
According to Teachers Joint Action Committee spokesman Rana Liaquat Ali, every government high school had transported 100 to 300 students to the venue immediately after the closing hour.
He said their parents were told that they would return home in the late afternoon but it did not happen since the function dragged on till night. The parents endlessly kept waiting for their children at the schools or continued to ring their teachers to inquire about the time of their return.
A government official said the students were brought to the stadium with prior permission of their parents. Children of many schools who were taken to the stadium in buses were seen forming long queues to wait for their turn to enter it till late afternoon.
A number of them were eating whatever they could bring with them while most were without any such privilege. Those who had lost strength to stand were sitting on the footpaths or green areas of houses around the stadium.
A teacher replied he had himself not eaten anything when asked whether the children had taken anything. He said the children had attended the schools from where they had been directly taken to the stadium without any rest or lunch.Almost all schoolchildren were wearing uniforms and holding invitation cards for the event. But none of them was wearing any coat or sweater which they appeared to be direly missing once the night fell and chill overwhelmed the huge open arena.
Exhaustion and impact of the chill was visible on their faces.