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Targeting female teachers

Two female teachers were shot dead on Thursday in Bajaur Agency, after masked men dragged them out of their vehicles and opened fire. The two women had been going home from their government school.

At least two men accompanying them were also injured. A few days ago, a girls’ school in Bara had been blown up. The pattern is a familiar one. We have over the past years seen many such attacks. Other schoolteachers have died, some have quit jobs for fear of being targeted and across our northern areas stand the burnt-out buildings of schools that have been attacked. The process of rebuilding almost 200 such structures is now just getting underway in Swat. It is in more than one way tragic that education for girls, in a part of our country where literacy rates are already dismally low, is being hit in this way. In almost all cases communities are distressed by the happenings but powerless against the militants.

We need to hear more vocal protests against what is happening from our religious leaders and others with standing within communities. Their active role in a campaign to expose the barbarity of such actions and the fact that they violate Islam’s call for education could have at least some impact and help end violence that has destroyed hundreds of schools within months. We need an effort to stop this and it must begin now. The teachers’ murder is the latest example of the vengeful tactics of the Taliban on the run, of their hitting of ‘soft’ targets.

That being the case, we wonder where the extremist elements’ ghairat (honour) applies in such tragedies. Or is ghairat confined to restrictions of women’s social rights and freedoms?
Source: The News
Date:11/9/2009

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