The attempted killing of Malala Yousufzai on her way home from school last October is a graphic illustration of the terror thousands of girls and female teacher in the north-western region of Pakistan have to face to attend class. The attempted target killing of Malala is an extreme case but more than half a million children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remain out of school because of the on-going fight between the Pakistan military forces and the Therik-e Taliban Pakistan TTP – an illustration of the scale of everyday threats against school girls that embodies how girls’ education has become (literally) a struggle for life in Pakistan these days.
On May 11, general elections will be held in Pakistan to elect the country’s 14th parliament. The coming election marks Pakistan’s first successful democratic transition between two elected governments. And for the first time, many women are participating in the elections.
The election campaign has so far been stained with violence and blood shedding. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, has warned of and carried out several attacks on the country’s secular parties, effectively intimidating the secular parties from holding big gatherings for electioneering as the security threats are too big. Several election candidates have been killed, and terror attacks have killed and injured both political activists and other civillians. Moreover, serious concerns have been expressed for the security of polling staff and voters, in particular the female voters. Continue reading