Bacha Khan Attack: fighting terrorism with education (video)
by Shafique Khokhar

The National Commission for Justice and Peace reacts to the Charsadda massacre, calling for better security in schools and better education for a better Pakistan. NGOs rally in Faisalabad, blaming the government, which “has not yet implemented the National Action Plan” against terrorism. For Muslim activist, school can “eradicate the roots of hatred".

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The National Commission for Justice and Peace issued a statement following the massacre at the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, which gunmen stormed on Wednesday, killing 21 people and wounding 30.

In its release, the rights-based organisation of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference strongly condemned the killing of innocent people and called on the government to provide more security in schools and improve the level of education. Only this way can Pakistanis create a better nation.

The Commission went further, noting that because of tragedies such as this, Pakistan is ranked second in the world for the number of students who drop out of school. Only 5 per cent obtain a higher education.

The attack against Bacha Khan University sparked protests across the country. Demonstrations and vigils were held yesterday in Quetta and Karachi

Today hundreds of people gathered in other cities to pray for the victims, and ask the government for immediate action to stem the scourge of terrorism.

Various Pakistani NGOs like Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) and Peace and Human Development Foundation (PHP), took to the streets in Faisalabad to demonstrate. Their rallying cry was ‘Fighting Extremism and Terrorism with Education’.

AWAM director Nazia Sardar told AsiaNews that the “attack occurred because the government has not yet implemented its National Action Plan,” which was adopted in the wake of the Peshawar attacks of January 2015. Now, “the Armed Forces should start another operation across the country to eliminate the extremists and terrorists and their facilitators once and for all.”

For his part, “The attack is a question mark on ongoing operations in Pakistan,” said PHP director Suneel Malik. “The government must call an all-party conference to critically examine the manner in which the National Action Plan is implemented, and military operations against terrorist outfits carried out.”

According Muqaddas Abroo, a Muslim activist, the fight against terrorism also “needs to invest in alternatives, which means more programmes to eradicate the roots of hatred, starting with education and government actions to involve civil society. They are the best antidote to extremism, inequality and discrimination.”