Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl

Maulana Fazlullah
Image source: worldblog.msnbc.msn.com

The news coming out of Pakistan about the expanding influence of the Taleban is a real worry. Sadly, given the focus on the economic downturn in the West, this is an issue that is not getting the air time that it warrants. Maulana Fazlullah (a.k.a “Radio Mullah”) and his followers are wreaking havoc in the Swat Valley in the Northwest Frontier Province and, among other things, include the burning of girls’ schools in their repertoire. Over 130 schools — mainly girls’ schools — have been destroyed in the past year and, not surprisingly, female enrolment in Swat area schools has fallen from about 120,000 to under 50,000 since 2007. This is set to get worse after it was announced by the Taleban that there would be a ban on education for girls from 15 January. The explanation for this is that sending girls to schools is against the teachings of Islam. The ongoing publication by the BBC of a Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl makes interesting reading.