In a follow-up to a story
I did in late December about how the Taliban have decided that girls can no longer be educated (and if they are, they are to be killed, their teachers are to be killed and their schools are to be bombed) in the Swat valley region of Pakistan, there is a new decree by the Taliban. Families are being told by the Taliban that if they have girls who are not married but are of marriageable age, they will be married to militants.
The decree is being read in mosques and over the FM radio. Families of unwed women have been ordered
to go to mosque and announce that they have daughters who are unwed "so that their hand could be given in marriage
". They are being told that the most probable groom would be a Taliban militant. The people are also being told that if they do not get up and announce that that have an unwed daughter of marriageable age, the girl would be forcibly married off to said militants or face "dire consequences".
Salma is a 30-year-old widow who teaches at a primary school. She has three young sons that she is raising on her own. She told the Dawn
news about a recent time when she had to go to the hospital for treatment and how afraid she was that something would happen to her. Why?
I have heard that Taliban have announced that if a girl above the age of seven is found outside her house she would be slaughtered.
Women who dare defy the Taliban are killed on a regular basis in this troubled area of Pakistan. Take the case of Bakht Zeba. Bakht was a 45-year-old social worker who used to collect school uniforms and text books for poor families who wanted to send their girls to school but couldn't because they lacked these necessities.
Bakht also got involved with raising money for poor families to provide their girls with a dowry when they were going to be married. However, the Taliban has decreed that these acts of social welfare are now considered to be ‘immoral activities
' and Bakht was warned by them to stop. The very next day, they found her body in her own home, riddled with bullets.