GILGIT: The notion that people in Diamer valley are against women being educated is incorrect.
“We have never opposed female education in the valley, it is the successive governments that have deprived us of it,” Rehmat Khaliq, a senior member of JUI-F who is also a sitting member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) from Diamer District, said at a seminar organised here today by Parbat Educational Society, a Chilas based non-profit and welfare organisation.
“You can judge the governments’ interest [in education] by the fact there is only one primary school for a population of 50,000 in Darel and Tangir,” he said, adding that if the government was sincere with the people, every village would have had a primary school by now.
He added funds provided by the international donor agencies to various NGOs are also going to waste. According to official statistics, just 2 to 6% of women and 27% of men are literate in Diamer valley that has a population of about 150,000 people.
Jehangir Khan, Chairman Parbat Educational Society, asked the government to justify why the valley was deprived of education and development for the past 64 years. “Is this the reward [we get] for our sacrifices for Diamer-Bhasha Dam [and] the country?”
Regional health minister Gulbar Khan admitted that in the past the valley had remained neglected due to government’s disinterest.
However he said one of the government’s projects currently in the pipeline is “home-based school system”, under which 65 schools will soon become operational.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2011.