Last night, the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan underwent another unfortunate event. Half a dozen schools were set on fire overnight in Chilas shocking Pakistan. The schools were still undergoing construction, and would have worked to eradicate illiteracy in the area.

Did you know that it has happened before?!

It happened in 2004. And, then again in 2011. Two girls’ schools were targeted and burnt. The extremists in the area are against education, particularly for girls, and will go to any lengths to put an end to it.

1. Most of the targeted schools were for girls

12 schools were attacked and half of them are girls-only schools, reportedly. After attacks in KP in 2008, this is being termed the worst incident of its kind. The suspects haven’t been identified yet.

2. There have been reports of explosions

Although, the police haven’t confirmed it yet, the locals claim to have heard explosions in a couple of schools late at night. The matter is still under investigation.

Chilas, school, burnt
A blown-up classroom

3. Collateral Damage

As if burning down the under-construction schools wasn’t bad enough, books were throw out and burnt as well to make the message behind the move even more clear.

Chilas, girls' schools
Images from burnt school sites

4. Literacy Rate in Diamer

Diamer is already notorious for having the lowest literacy rates in GB. There are 244 government schools in the district, which don’t include any higher secondary schools. Out of 16,800 students enrolled in these schools, only 3,479 happen to be girls.

This incident is a reflection of how Pakistan is still striving for the basic right to education. And how defending one’s basic right can prove destructive. We have come a far way as a nation to eradicate illiteracy but the threat remains. Hopefully, a new government will mean a new fate for the children of Gilgit-Baltistan, and this event won’t repeat itself in Naya Pakistan.


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