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Minister vows to fight for girls’ education

By Muqaddam Khan

SWABI, Jan 16: NWFP Minister for Education Sardar Hussain Babak has rejected the Swat militants’ call for closure of girls’ schools and said that no one will be allowed at any cost and under any circumstances to deprive Pakhtun children of the ‘fruit of education’.

He was speaking at an award-giving ceremony for students of the Quaid-i-Azam Group of Schools and Colleges, who were placed in the top 20 positions in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Mardan, in 2007-08, here on Friday. The minister said that the militants had warned and called for closure of girls’ schools in Swat, but the Awami National Party-led provincial government rejected such a move and they would never yield to these militants.

He said that it was a well-planned conspiracy against the Pakhtuns to deprive their children of education, while recalling that when Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan initiated the struggle to educate the Pakhtun youth a voice was raised by some fanatics that those who were sending their children to school would go straight to hell.

“This pushed the Pakhtuns into the shadows of starvation, backwardness and dependency and now once again a bunch of people had kicked off a campaign to deprive the Pakhtun children of education,” Sardar Babak said.

“The actors are the same and only their tactics have changed. Is it just to keep the children away from schools? Is this justice to victimise them? How come these people are challenging the writ of the government and who are they to push Pakhtuns into the shadows of darkness,” he questioned.

“With the support of the masses we are determined to wipe them out,” Sardar Babak vowed, adding, “The militants who have put the whole Pakhtun belt on fire will face an ignominious defeat.”This is a well-thought out and comprehensive conspiracy, hatched by people who want to harm Pakhtuns.

“They are the children of Pakhtuns, then why these militants are preventing them from getting education and threatening to close down their institutions,” the minister said. “Here the reality unfolds that what really these militants want,” he said.

The minister said that there were leaders who still had failed to come out clearly against militants and extremists, while exploiting the religious sentiments of the people for their political gains.

“I challenge PPP-S chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F)’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Qazi Hussian Ahmad to come forward and reject the militants and extremists in a manner the Awami National Party leader, Asfandyar Wali, has done,” he said.

Abdul Waheed, principal of the Quaid-i-Azam Group of Schools and Colleges, also spoke on the occasion. The minister gave away awards and cash prizes to the outstanding students.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/17/2009

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