In the photo above, a Pakistani student holds an image of Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai is a 14-year-old education activist whose campaign to win education access for girls became known to the West through her anonymous BBC blog “Diary of a Pakistani School Girl” and the documentary Class Dismissed.
Malala’s goal is to become a doctor. “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school,” she said. “All I want is education. I’m afraid of no one.”
On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman boarded Malala’s school bus, and shot her in the head. Malala is fighting for her life after being shot. On Monday, October 15, Malala was transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, a specialized facility where wounded British soldiers are treated.
Security officials surround 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl arrested and charged with blasphemy after neighbors accused her of burning pages of Islam’s holy book. She was moved under armed guard to a helicopter and transported to a secret location after her release from Adyala Jail in the northeastern town of Rawalpindi on September 8, 2012. She had been held since August 17, facing life imprisonment. The girl’s future remains uncertain. Three witnesses claimed to have seen Muslim cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti tear pages from a Quran and present them as evidence against Rimsha. Those witnesses have since recanted.
Honor Killings and Mutilations
Honor victim Ayesha Baloch sits inside a hospital with her mother in Multan, Pakistan, May 25, 2006. Baloch, 18, was dragged to a field and, as her brother-in-law held her down, her husband sat astride her legs and slit her upper lip and nostril with a knife. More than 1,000 women are slain by their husbands or relatives in reported “honor killings” in Pakistan each year.
Photo: Asim Tanveer/Reuters
Weighing the Future
Siblings sit on a weighing scale at a wood sawmill in Abbottabad. In 2010, in the major city alone, 1,210 infants, 90 percent of them girls and most less than one week old, were killed or abandoned and left to die, according to the Edhi Foundation. Many of these infants are thought to have been discarded because adultery is a crime punishable by death or because these babies were considered too costly to take care of.
Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Flood and Drought and Female Responsibility
Girls whose families have been displaced by heavy floods for a year carry water containers on their heads. While Pakistan experienced serious flooding in 2010, most recently they have been hit with drought. As the carry the burden of supplying water to their families, many girls in displaced persons camps sacrifice their chance for an education.
Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Shrouded by a Nation
A woman clad in a burqa walks past the national flag of Pakistan. Society dictates that women must cover their skin in public, and social taboos force many of the country’s women who are seeking an education to veil their attempts to learn.
In Lahore, Pakistani law enforcement officials train women for the police force. Women were first admitted to the police squad under the instruction of Benazir Bhutto in 1994. Women in Pakistan join the police force to prevent women from being harassed by male policemen, according to the Islamabad Police.
Photo: Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Protecting and Serving as Equals
Female Pakistani sky marshals practice their martial arts skills during a training session in Karachi. Women began training for the marshals program in 2002. Female candidates were trained in the same class and had to meet the same standards as men.
Photo: Zahid Hussein/REUTERS
Displaced by Flood and Helpless
An internally displaced woman holds her children while taking refuge at a school in Mardan. Heavy floods in 2010 displaced her from her home. Internally displaced persons in Pakistan number in the millions, driven to seek emergency shelter by conflict between insurgents and government armed forces, and local sectarian and tribal conflicts, as well as by nature’s cataclysms.
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy. Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast | TakePart.com