The EU must be 'persistent in its efforts' to promote education in Pakistan

Written by Barbara Matera on 6 February 2015 in Opinion

The recent tragic attack on a Pakistani school has demonstrated the importance of education for developing nations, writes Barbara Matera.

The recent attack against a school in Peshawar in Pakistan, which resulted in over 140 victims, including 134 school children, has shed an even brighter spotlight on a country whose history is marked by violence and underdevelopment. 

At the same time, it serves as a reminder to the international community that expressing the necessity to support people living in sensitive areas must coincide with concrete actions. Otherwise, the consequences may be unpredictable. 

This terrible tragedy has demonstrated - with brutal effectiveness - that education must be a top priority when discussing the development of backward societies.

The fact that Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) decided to strike a school clearly demonstrates how much terrorists understand this. Education shapes social consciousness. Social consciousness produces political understanding. Political understanding is a prerequisite for popular reactions. 

"The Pakistani Taliban chose to spread fear and terror by targeting what they themselves realised is the cornerstone of any development within Pakistani society - the right to a balanced and inclusive education"

TTP chose to spread fear and terror by targeting what they themselves realised is the cornerstone of any development within Pakistani society - the right to a balanced and inclusive education.

During the last plenary session in Strasbourg, the European parliament voted a resolution in order to call attention to the necessity of defending education in Pakistan through any means possible.

The EU must be persistent in its efforts to enhance the establishment of a more effective educational system in Pakistan, engaging with local institutions and partners. 

It is quite clear that these actions should be combined with a strong effort on behalf of the Pakistani government in trying to cut any ties with organisations whose aims are not distinctly legal. 

The Pakistani intelligence services have been accused of financing terrorist groups which train children in order to turn them into future suicide bombers and fighters.

Where the EU can help in order to support Pakistan's recovery is by coordinating actions aimed at containing terrorism within the country. 

It is time to prove that our European foreign policy can be effective, that the EU is not just an economic deal, but an organisation based on shared values and common perspectives. 


About the author

Barbara Matera (EPP, IT) is a member of parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee

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