Taliban ban to keep 40,000 girls from schools in Swat
* Locals say they are helpless, have no option but to accede to Taliban pressure
PESHAWAR: The future of around 40,000 girls in Swat is at stake following a Taliban ban on education for female students.
Shah Duran, the deputy of Swat-based Taliban cleric Fazlullah, has warned the administrations of government and private educational institutions to not enrol girls in schools.
The Taliban on Wednesday issued a deadline for January 15 for the ban to be implemented, following which they said they would bomb the buildings of schools allowing girls to study.
The Taliban have blown up more than 100 girls’ schools in Swat in the past 14 months.
Helpless: Locals say they are helpless and have no other option but to accede to the Taliban’s pressure as the government has failed to provide them with securuty.
“This is terrible,” the principal of a private school in Mingora told Daily Times, requesting that the name of his school should not be mentioned as that would risk his life and property.
He said the Taliban decision had proved that the government had lost its writ in the valley. “This is the question of the future of our children. The Taliban decision will throw more than 40,000 girls out of schools,” he said.
He said the school owners in Swat district were planning to convene a meeting and form a committee with the help of elders to have dialogue with the Taliban.
The announcement has stamped the statement of Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel who had told a seminar in Peshawar a fortnight ago that the government had lost control over Swat.
A social worker said people had already started migrating from Swat following threats by the Taliban.
“Things are changing dramatically. We cannot say anything because the people and the whole government is helpless before the armed people,” he said.
The man said his three daughters were studying at an English medium school. He had no other option but to shift his family to some other area to educate his children, he added.
Schools are the most vulnerable target since the beginning of trouble in Swat. According to figures provided by a Swat-based non-government organisation, Pakistan Coalitions for Education (PCE), Taliban have destroyed over 100 of the 490 primary schools for girls in Swat so far.
The destruction of schools and recent threats to teachers and students have forced over 50,000 girls out of schools, the PCE figures said.