You couldn’t make it up:Â Pakistani Taliban Destroy Another 28 Girls Schools
With thanx to Weasel Zippers
Swat back to ‘the dark ages’
Fazlullah-commanded Taliban operating in the scenic valley started targeting girl schools to replace the existing educational system based on ‘infidel’ curriculum with an ‘Islamic’ one that could produce ‘mujahideen and honest people’. The Taliban action is also meant to bring the government to its knees to stop military operation against them.
Answering the queries of The News regarding the destruction of the girls’ schools, Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the aim of destroying schools was to pressure the government and replace the education system. “At present, we are using the torching and bombing of schools as a war tactic against the government. Also, this education system has been producing corrupt people and needs to be reformed. Musharraf and Zardari are the production of this education system, but what they made of this country. The doctors produced by this system are also fleecing the people,” he argued.
Asked if they were targeting girls’ schools only, he said after destruction of female educational institutes, it would be the turn of boys’ schools. “Why did Musharraf shell innocent girls’ students of Jamia Hafsa?” questioned Muslim Khan when asked about the future of the female students whose schools were destroyed. He, however, added these girls would be given religious education. To a question, he said though Taliban in other areas did not destroy girl schools, the premises had been occupied and turned into madaris.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat chapter chief Maualana Fazlullah has also termed female education “a source of obscenity.” Not only in Swat but also in Dir Upper, Dir Lower and Mardan districts, the militants had threatened the female teaching staff and students of action if they did not wear fez-veil. At a press conference on July 27, Fazlullah said the schools were destroyed being the property of the government, as the government had also blown up Taliban’s houses.
The militants in Swat destroyed 28 more girls’ schools during fresh violence that erupted on July 29 in addition to 59 schools they had set alight or blown up in months of militancy before a peace deal with the government on May 21. The total number of destroyed schools now rose to 87 while another 62 had been closed after the refusal of female teachers to attend classes.
When violence resumed following the assassination of three Inter Services Intelligence officials and abduction of police and FC personnel on July 29, the militants torched Chamtalai Middle School Khwazakhela the same day. On August 30, three schools including a girls’ high and a primary school in Kishawara, Charbagh and a primary school in Alamganj were destroyed. Taliban also reduced to debris five more schools on August 1.
A girls’ primary school in Shaltalo, community model school in Qila area of Minglawar and a middle school at Darmai in Matta tehsil were blown up and two primary schools in Sakhra were set ablaze. A private girls’ college in Mingora, Swat Public School and a primary school in Matta were ravaged in Matta on August 2. In their continued arson attacks on August 3, they torched another five girls’ schools including primary school Charbagh, Seer, Malam Jabba and a primary and middle school in Tiligram. On August 4 the insurgents burnt five more primary schools in Arq, Tango, Koh and Ingaro Dherai. Without any let-up, Swat Taliban reduced five schools to rubble on August 5. These included a high school in Tahirabad, Mingora, primary school in Kanju Dherai, middle school in Mangwalta, Khwazakhela, middle school Shakardara, Kabal and another primary school in Kabal.
Two militants planting bombs at a school in Aligrama area of Kabal were killed when the devices exploded prematurely, also destroying the school building on August 6. On the next day, the rebels set alight a government girls’ college in their stronghold, Matta tehsil, a nine-room primary school in Dakor, Khwazakhela and a middle school in Qandeel, Madyan.
There were 566 girl schools â€” 489 primary, 51 middle, 22 high schools and four higher secondary schools â€” but now 159 schools out of the total are non-functional. A total of 87 are those torched or destroyed while 62 have been closed due to the refusal of female teachers in view of precarious security situation.
The recent destruction of schools deprived thousands of more girls of their right to education, in addition to 17,200 estimated by the education department before the fresh violence. The government’s recent advertisement campaign, aimed at convincing the militants to stop destruction of schools, went up in smoke.