On 9 December, the world once again turned its eyes to Malala Yousafzai as she received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. But one of her most prominent countrymen failed to appear as politicians, celebrities and UN representatives celebrated the young prize laureate. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawas Sharif did not come to Oslo. He promised, however, according to Pakistani Radio, to realize Malala’s vision of safe and sound educational facilities for every Pakistani child. If he intends to keep his promise, he has a heavy workload ahead.
On May 27 Farzana Parveen was beaten to death in broad daylight as she was about to enter the gate of the heavily guarded Lahore High Court. She had come to challenge a case of abduction filed by her father against her husband. Her father and brothers batter her with bricks and police and security personnel posted near the court failed to intervene before it was too late.
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.