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Girls under attack in Swat

THE violence in Swat has taken on a domino effect. Schools and places of recreation are falling one after another to the ongoing spate of violence that has engulfed the area. A girlsÂ’ school and 13 shops were blown up in a fresh spell of bombings in Swat on Friday. This has rendered the peace deal negotiated in May ineffective. Are such peace deals really viable? What impact do they have and what does the government hope to gain from them? The answers lie in the events of recent weeks. The fact of the matter is that violence has continued unabated. If the residents don’t get any respite from the violence, then one can correctly deem the deal to have failed. At least 39 girls’ schools have been bombed or torched in the last month alone in Swat. This is what Talibanisation is leaving behind in its trail. The pieces are for the government to pick up and it is not being able to do it very well.

Meanwhile, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday. The militants’ targets are symbolic and the message is very clear: everything that is synonymous with modernity has to go. This has paralysed life in this strife-torn region. Thousands of girls have been forced to abandon education in Swat. This is a pity because it was clearly stated in the 15-point peace agreement that the education of girls would not be obstructed. The constant breach of this term should serve as an eye-opener for the government. The dystopian visions of the north unravel the human side of the story and show how women are the targets of the dictatorial fiats of the militants. What the government needs to do is work out something that is practicable and workable in terms of the cessation of violence on the part of the militants. If peace deals are to be struck, it should be ensured that the terms are adhered to by both sides and lead to a durable peace. Let the effective implementation of the clause banning attacks on girls’ schools be made a test case for the good faith of the parties negotiating peace deals.
Source: Dawn
Date:7/29/2008

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