Published in the Asia Despatch
by Muhammad Younas Afridi & Barbara Gallo
“According to several studies and panel of experts, the revival of Pakistan, and especially the tribal areas, will take place starting from schools. The challenge of education is really important because it allows for stopping the fundamentalism drift which has taken the country. But it is schools that are the ‘number one target’ of the Taliban, which have long since declared war for all. But up to now most of public resources and large part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are allocated in army and security tools and also the international community, primarily USA, allocates military aid and weapons, without looking at the real needs of the people, who are tired of violent attacks.
“Education is indeed the real ‘national emergency’, more than economics and security. The threat of the Talibans find its strength in subjugating the masses or annihilating the few dissenting voices; extremist feed on the poor education of people. In fact, ‘with a population of 180 million people, almost half of which is less than 18 years of age, Pakistani youth are the demographic dividend who will determinate the country’s future progress. When in fact children miss out on their right to education, it is not only they who suffer the consequences through loss opportunities in life, but the entire social, cultural and economic peaceful development of the countries loses, too.’”