Attacks on schools in Pakistan turn dreams into nightmares

A Human Rights Watch report says the attacks caused more than 900 girls' schools in Pakistan to shut down, forcing about 120,000 girls and 8,000 teachers to stay home.

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

A civil society member holds a placard protesting against the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda city at a demonstration in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 21, 2016.

Updated Mar 28, 2017

There were at least 867 attacks on schools in Pakistan, killing 392 people and injuring 724 others, from 2007 to 2016, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Pakistan faces an education crisis with about 25 million children out of school for reasons which range from the lack of educational institutions to parents' unwillingness to prioritise education. Terror attacks on schools compound the problem.

“The Taliban and other militants have repeatedly committed horrific attacks on Pakistani schools, depriving students of their lives as well as their educations,” HRW Child Rights Deputy Director Bede Sheppard said.

The report titled "Dreams Turned into Nightmares: Attacks on Students, Teachers, and Schools in Pakistan" is based on 48 interviews with teachers, students, parents and school principals. It also looks at how various groups, including the military, political groups and criminal gangs, occupy school buildings for their own use. 

TRT World speaks with Muhammad Amir Rana, a security analyst in Islamabad, Pakistan, on actions taken by the Pakistani government to protect schools.