"Militants encourage girls’ education in religious seminaries and even collect donations for this purpose. However, they strongly oppose teaching girls modern disciplines such as science, geography, social sciences and mathematics."
So, for example, does geography lead to obscenity and vulgarity, or is it one or the other? "Islamists Torch Girls’ School in NW Pakistan," by Shaheen Buneri for The Media Line, May 4:
[Peshawar] Unidentified attackers set fire to a girls’ high school and planted bombs in its science laboratory in the Charbagh area of the conflict-ridden Swat district in North West Pakistan.
School watchman, Toti Gul, said that 40-50 men entered the school at midnight and used gasoline to set ablaze nine rooms of the only girls’ high school in the area.
“The faces of the armed men were covered and they were chanting slogans. They directed me to take away all the copies of the Holy Quran from the school building. When I did that they set the school on fire and also planted bombs in the science laboratory. The bombs were later diffused by the bomb disposal squad,” he said.
The watchman said the school library was burnt to ashes due to the raging fire, adding that the militants were bold enough to stay there for 25-30 minute observing the fire until it engulfed the whole building.
As annual examinations for the Secondary School Certificate are in progress in North West Frontier Province, it is feared that in the wake of the recent terrorist attack hundreds of girls will miss their examinations.
The principal of the school said she was not sure whether tomorrow girls would be able to take their exams.
“I have repeatedly informed high officials in the district about the security concerns of the school teaching staff and the volatile situation in the area, but received no satisfactory response. Really, I feel very frustrated,” she added.
A district official said, on condition of anonymity, that attacks on girls’ educational institutions had intensified over the last year in Swat valley.
“We are investigating the matter and will bring the people responsible to justice,” he said.
The police have taken Toti Gul into custody for further interrogation.
Maulana Fazlullah, a militant leader and chief of the Taliban Movement’s Swat chapter, has discouraged girls’ education in his sermons through his unlicensed radio station and has forbidden parents to send their daughters to school.
Secretary of the Swat Private School Association, Zia-ud-Din, explained that girls’ education was the main casualty of the conflict between militants of hardliner cleric Fazlullah and Pakistan security forces.
“About 1,200 educational institutions have been closed due to the conflict in the valley. They have bombed girls’ schools in different areas and even killed female teachers. They preach that girls’ education leads to obscenity and vulgarity, therefore it should be discouraged. This is very wrong perception of Islam,” he said.
Militants encourage girls’ education in religious seminaries and even collect donations for this purpose. However, they strongly oppose teaching girls modern disciplines such as science, geography, social sciences and mathematics.
More than 20,000 Pakistan security forces are fighting Fazlullah’s militants, but have yet to prevent terrorist incidents in the once peaceful, paradise-like tourist district of the Frontier Province.
Locals say that despite the government’s peace deal with Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the Movement for the Enforcement of Shari’a – commonly known as Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi – violence is on the rise in the valley.