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Killer fiancé shocks schoolgirls

By: Sadia Qasim Shah

PESHAWAR: Though shaken by the killing of a local female student by her fiancé over refusal to abandon education, schoolgirls in the provincial capital are committed to continue their studies.

Mostly from middle and lower middle class, parents of these government school students have no formal education.

Mehnaz, a 10th grader, was killed on Wednesday when she was on her way to school in Pishtakhara neighbourhood.

Sheeba, who is in ninth grade, told Dawn that the news of the schoolgirl’s killing had dazed her as she couldn’t comprehend the opposition to the girls’ education.

“I don’t know why people oppose education of girls at schools. It not only helps girls lead a better life but also turns out to be a means of monetary support for their families in difficult times,” she said.

Irum, another student, said education could change a girl’s life for better as an educated girl could better manage family affairs after marriage and bring up her children in a better way compared with uneducated girls.

She said she had been in a state of shock since the hearing of the schoolgirl’s killing by her fiancé over refusal to abandon education.

A female nine-grader of a government school said she saluted the dead student for defying bullying to continue with her studies. She said the brutal killing showed the extremist mindset of a segment of society.

Kosar, another schoolgirl, favoured female, saying it lets girls know their rights. She, however, regretted that the girls’ views were not respected and often rebuffed by male members of their families, who were mostly illiterate.
She said an educated girl could help her younger siblings lead a better life especially when her parents had no formal education.

Nabeela, a teenaged girl, said Islam allowed girls to get education but most of the families didn’t follow Islamic teachings and denied their female members right to education.

She said many girls in the city went to school wearing veil but even then if anyone opposed it, that was appalling.
According to the available statistics, around 800 girls schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been destroyed by militants opposed to female education since 2007.

Ironically, the perpetrators of these acts of sabotage went scot-free.
Source: Dawn
Date:10/24/2011

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