“We were five teachers and about 10 students, returning from school, when a group of young Taliban stopped our van,” said Saeeda, a primary schoolteacher of Matta Tehsil, as she recounted the terrifying incident.
“One of them asked for the teachers and the students pointed towards us. We froze in fear, completely unable to move. They flashed their blazing knives at us and threatened to slaughter us. At that moment we nearly lost our senses,” she recalled with a trembling voice. “There was complete silence as they pointed the weapons at us.”
Saeeda remembers regaining her strength and responding to them with a choking voice, “We are wearing burqas and following your rules. We are not going astray from your prescribed way of living.”
The Taliban said they would spare them that time but if any of them were ever found without a burqa, they would be killed.
One of the teachers went hysterical after the incident so Saeeda took her back to her home. While she regained her composure, she did not ever teach again. None of the other four teachers ever went back to school to teach.
This was back in 2008 when Talibanisation was at its peak in Swat. Saeeda was teaching at a private school at Khwaza Khela after completing
She recalls how her father encouraged her to continue their efforts towards education. “He told us the terrorist elements were only temporary. He told me that soon peace would return,”
Saeeda Bibi loves education and is a staunch representative of women’s literacy in society. However, she is not happy with the present system as she blames the authorities for not allowing her to study medicine after completing her FSc.
“With minimum resources at hand, I worked hard and finished my FSc with a good score but was not admitted into medical college. Only those who had a strong backing were admitted,” she said.
She then got her Primary Teaching Certificate and has since been working as a teacher in the government primary school
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2011.
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