How important is girls' education

Closure of all girls schools in Swat condemned
Islamabad, Jan 16: The closure of all schools for girls in Swat was condemned here on Thursday by members of civil society organisations, while a video titled 'Allaho: A Lullaby for You, My Daughter' was also launched on the occasion.

'Allaho' is a beautiful lullaby, produced by renowned filmmaker, anthropologist and rights activist Samar Minallah in Pashto and Dari languages, to highlight the importance of education for girls in Afghanistan and the Pashtoon regions of Pakistan.

The video is launched by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in which tribute is paid to all those girls, whose schools are being destroyed, depriving them of their right to education.

Speaking on the occasion, Samar Minallah said that hundreds of schools have been burnt down recently, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by those who are not ready to allow girl's education despite the fact that women constitute almost half of the population of both the neighbouring countries. She said that parents and students have lost hope of the schools reopening in this volatile atmosphere. "Adding to the worries of the girl students and their parents, even girl education was also banned in Swat, though later, primary-level schooling was allowed," she said.

The participants of the event termed the closure of the schools as barbaric, inhuman and un-Islamic, saying that the first word of the Holy Qur'aan is 'Iqra', meaning 'read', and is not confined to the male species only, while the 'Hadith' also enjoins all Muslims to seek knowledge from cradle to the grave, even if it means travelling to China.

"We strongly condemn and protest against Mullah Fazlullah, who has forced Swat's all industry owners to sack their women industries' workers, who are the sole breadwinners of the low income families, living in dire poverty," said Tahira Abdullah, a civil society activist. She said that criminal silence and indifference of the NWFP provincial government and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on this burning issue is indeed condemnable. "We condemn the total absence of the writ of the state in Swat and Fata despite the prolonged and ongoing military operations there," she said.

Rukhshanda Naz, a civil society activist, said it is not only Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that is playing havoc in Swat and other areas but also dozens of other groups, which are fulfilling their evil intentions under the cover of TTP. "The government and media are trumpeting the evil deeds of TTP, but not highlighting the activities of other groups, who are involved in the destruction of the affected areas," she said.

Naz also pointed out the inefficiency of the government, as various unauthorised and illegal FM radio stations are still functional in the affected area and are being used as a tool to spread the militants massages.

She said the brutal loss of life and livelihoods in Swat has reached gigantic proportions, but since neither the military nor the Taliban permit media coverage, we do not see the daily brutalities in these areas in a manner in which the international news channels have been covering Israel's brutalities in Gaza.

Famous poet Kishwar Naheed on the occasion said the situation in Swat is far worse than it has been reported in newspapers and TV channels. "The women and children are starving, as they have nothing to eat in their homes, while the law and order situation of the area does not allow them to go out to buy some edibles." She said women residing in Swat are facing immense difficulty as far as their reproductive health is concerned, as they could not access a health centre for delivery services and lose their lives due to unavailability of trained midwives. The News

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HEC initiatives for higher education lauded
Karachi: The Director International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University, Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, has lauded the role of the Higher Education Commission.

He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the Second International Symposium-cum-Training Course on Molecular Medicine and Drug Research on Thursday. The four-day moot was conducted at the premises of the ICCBS at Karachi University campus.

As many as 100 scientists from 30 countries participated in the international event organized by Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University.

Prof. Iqbal said that the HEC has made a remarkable progress in higher education sector by spending the enormous funds. He stated that the universities always play a key role in the process of economic growth in any country; such institutions have been the greatest source of knowledge generation for scientists and engineers who work in industrial laboratories.

It was pointed out that the aim of the event was to develop understanding and appreciation of this emerging field (Molecular Medicine and Drug Research) in Pakistan, to bring together the leading experts in the field of molecular medicine from all around the world and forge global partnership for the common benefits of humanity and rapid development of the countries in the South.

Around 40 lectures of the national and international scientists have been delivered in the symposium. Prof. Iqbal further stated that the international mutual cooperation among the chemical scientists was the need of the hour for the benefit and welfare of the humanity.

He said that to strengthen the cooperation among the scientists of the world, such types of programmes, including symposium, seminar, conferences, workshops etc, can play vital role.

The fatal diseases could be treated easily if the government gave acceleration in the progress of molecular medicine in the country. The international delegates emphasised the need for doing some concrete work protection of medicinal plants that were depleting in this region, and said that the south countries were required to use positively their natural resources for obtaining the required growth and advancement.

They also underlined the need for carrying out new research work on medicinal plants and natural compounds keeping in view of their great medicinal potential to prevent diabetic complications and other diseases.

Meanwhile, Dr Iqbal and other foreign delegates distributed the certificates among the participants and position holders of the posters' competition. The Nation

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