Arif Hussain Ashoor
From the very beginning, the people of Gilgit-baltistan have been ignored by the governments of Pakistan. Being ignored by the state and the governments, thus, has become an ordinary thing for us. We have gotten used to it.
Despite of the state level laxity, our parents have made efforts to educate us, graduate, and then get jobs. They are happy even if we get jobs and then settle elsewhere. The situation described above, with respect to our parents openness, is true only for boys. Girls are not allowed to go out, get education, and make decisions of their lives, as independently as the boys are.
We do not have enough facilities for girls in Skardu. There’s only one degree college of girls for the entire Skardu district. There is also another problem we are facing these day. Girls in Skardu are feeling insecure while going to the college because of some wicked boys who loiter around the college and shamelessly indulge in eve-teasing, with any fear of reprisal. Not only are they teasing girls, but many of them also try to blackmail them. Some bad examples are in front of us, details of which I don’t feel like sharing here. The crucial thing is that girls are not safe anymore in our peaceful area. The different treatment meted out to girls and boys is readily apparent.
However, despite of all these odds, some very brave girls pass intermediate exams, and then either get married or stay at home and work with a mother. Some girls, I must say lucky girls, can continue their education further at the Elementary College Skardu. Very few venture out of the valley to get higher education at universities.
Why our society is very cruel for girls? Why is there so injustice and gender discrimination? Why don’t we trust girls? Why don’t we have confidence on them? Are the girls and women across the world achieving things equal to even greater than men? Should I blame my parents for not allowing my sisters to get further education, or should i blame the government for ignoring us and not giving us opportunities?
Before blaming the government, we must at the girls of Hunza. We can see that many of their girls are world famous. They are allowed to work and struggle. They are allowed to explore the world. Because they trust their females and they have confidence over their abilities, wisdom and ability to make the right choices.
We all need to change our behavior towards girls, not only parents but young boys must think about their sisters and not keep them dis-empowered. Nobody should be allowed to tease the girls. There must be equal opportunities for girls.
Arif Ashoor belongs to Skardu. He can be reached at email@example.com