PESHAWAR: Militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata adversely affected every aspect of life in the province yet education remains the major casualty in the Pakhtun-inhibited areas where girls’ schools as a soft target are on the hit-list of the militants.
A noted woman social activist Azra Nafees Yousfzai strives to promote girls’ education despite all odds in the region as she believes that education can counter terrorism and insurgency in a more befitting manner.
Azra Nafees Yusufzai, a schoolteacher by profession and actively contributing to certain welfare projects in her area, belongs to the remote part of the Dir district.
In her exclusive interview with Dateline Peshawar, she said that women and girls in KP and FATA are playing a key role in the current scenario against militancy and insurgency in different capacities.
“In our religion females have unique status and role awarded to them by Allah and like men they also can bring about change in the society. Mostly our youngsters misled by anti-state elements are being used for wrong actions in the society. As compared to male headed families, mothers and sisters can easily control daily activities of their children because they are well aware of their daily activities,” she said.
She said that educated mothers could easily guide their children and convince them about the good and evil in the society and that was why an educated mother did not face any hardship in the looking after of her children.
She pointed out that women lacking education and knowledge about the prevailing situation in the region could not provide required attention to their children to build the children personalities. She argued that uneducated mothers are also careless in provision of proper education to their daughters.
Azra Nafees highlighted the problems which are being faced by women segment of the society. She said, “Lack of female education in KP and FATA is a big problem for us. We have limitations from religion perspective and our cultural values too create hurdles for us in getting quality education.”
“In our society parents mostly provide religious education to their children, if they provide both religious education and formal education to their children then they will be able to cope with the socio-economical, financial and other societal issues effectively”, she said.
She said that parents could not change the mind-set of adults easily as compared to small children, adding that parents had to take keen interest to give quality education to their children especially to their daughters because they were the future mothers and would guide their children in a systematic way.
Referring to the state responsibilities, she said that those students who could not continue their studies because of lack of resources, the government should provide facilities to them to complete their studies.
To a quarry she said that she also worked for the betterment of society and that was the reason she visited many women in the last general elections to create awareness among them regarding the right to vote.
“In our society Hujra plays an important role but nowadays youth do not take interest to sit in Hujras and that is why our new generation has limited knowledge about Pashtuns’ culture and traditions. They are gradually adopting Western cultures and traditions. Whenever I talk to women, I ask them to convince their children to take interest in Hujra system and this way they will get more knowledge about their problems,” while pointing the importance of Hujra.
Azra Nafees said that youth had to get education and also spread it in the society as lasting peace in the society was not possible without equal opportunity of education for both boys and girls.