Threat to girls’ education – 26 May 2023

These attacks signal a fresh wave of violence against girls’ education

Despite the belief that the war against girls’ education in Pakistan had ended, recent events have proven otherwise. Last Sunday, two government schools in Mir Ali town of North Waziristan were blown up forcing 500 female students out of education. Unfortunately, these students will be unable to enrol elsewhere due to a dearth of female schools in the area. Although no loss of life was reported in the attacks, the same cannot be said about the attack in Swat’s Sangota area where a policeman posted outside of a private school opened fire killing a seven-year-old girl and injuring five other female students and a teacher. These attacks signal a fresh wave of violence against girls’ education.

Recent attacks have renewed memories of the heart-wrenching Army Public School attack in 2014 and attacks on girls’ schools in 2018. Once again, many families will be compelled to take their children out of school to ensure their safety and well-being. Thousands of female students in Waziristan and adjoining areas will be deprived of their right to education and the opportunity to enhance their futures because of a few wayward elements. In recent weeks, several law enforcement personnel have lost their lives during encounters with terrorists.

The rising frequency of these attacks demonstrates that Pakistan is losing ground in the fight against these movements. This will not just be a major blow to the country’s efforts to eliminate terrorist outfits but also impede Pakistan’s overall progress and development. Evidently, more needs to be done to eradicate the roots of these movements against girls’ education. It will take more sacrifices and negotiations to overcome this issue. The country must take swift action to ensure that every child, regardless of gender, has access to education.

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