Lead by radical cleric Maulana Fazalullah, militant set up that runs a parallel government in Swat has ordered all the girls school to be closed by 15th January. More than 150 schools have already been set ablazed since Pakistani Taliban rule the roost.
Once a princely state, aptly called Switzerland of Pakistan, thronged by thousands of tourists each year; the beauty of the valley has now been badly debilitated by the ugliness of extremist element. Only in 2008, the soil of the region absorbed innocent blood of some 1200 civilians.
Shariat (Islamic law) has already been imposed on the public; obviously, against their will. For, in the February 2008 national election, religious parties had a straight defeat and public had shown an acceptance for the liberal parties like ANP and PPPP through their vote. Unfortunately, people’s will is now left hushed and thwarted when their elected MNAs dare not go to their native place fearing threats to their security.
The markets in the city, hang banners that announce that women are not allowed, any one appearing receives death at the spot; penalties like flogging in the public are already in practice; Barbers’ shop have sign boards that say that they don’t shave beards. Most of the female doctors, teachers, journalists and liberals have already left the place for safer cities after receiving death and abduction threats.
I am left bowled over when I try to figure out how come our security forces fail to control this handful of bearded butchers, and where do the militants get their funding for the mortars and anti aircraft guns. It is no doubt the lack of will on the government’s part to nip the crime in the bud and thus letting the situation become irretrievable.
Swat is only a hundred miles from the capital Islamabad. If such a neighboring city has its people living under duress of stone age tyranny, I can’t help being chilled to marrow thinking of all the brutality standing at my door next day. Back in nineties, in our child hood a two day curfew in the city, had kept my siblings and me from going to school and I clearly remember the anguish and hassle we had felt for being kept away from our friends and books. But we had an assurance that, the one strong man standing in his long boots and hanging a gun in a military uniform is there to help us out and take to task those who are responsible for the schools to be closed. The girls in Swat don’t have that assurance.
The militants after some negotiations have accepted to consider female education up to grade four. Why even that? Once the child is out in the open, and has four years of learning to be herself, discovering things about the world, having a bliss of carefree play, sharing cheerfulness of company of her age mates, it will be even difficult for her to be locked at the house for the rest of her life.
Let the girls be buried either under the ground, or in the four walls after their birth. Never on earth, even for once, let them behold the sun, feel the air on an unveiled face, or be in the rain. Life of perpetual mental and physical imprisonment can be made easier for them, thus, perhaps.