Getting Education in the Valley of Fear

Nabila Malik Haya
Living in a Balochistan, where universities are targeted is not easy and peaceful as it seems.
I got admission at Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University (SBKWU), where on June 15, 2013, a blast occurred, targeting the university bus, which was carrying girls, waiting to go home. The horrible incident killed 15 university students.
I was not brave enough to choose the same university for my graduate program.  I chose it because I had no other choice, as SBKWU was the only women’s university in the province and girls come from far rural areas for completion of their degrees. Although I got admission in 2015, after two years of that brutal incident, I could still sense fear on the campus. It was secure more than ever, and the number of students enrolled had increased. It would be wrong to say that we weren’t afraid of being in this university for learning.
I had a good time with my fellows and the inside environment felt safe. But any sudden or loud voice was enough to terrify us. In 2017, when the university buses were threatened again, the university was closed for a week, and the buses didn’t move for a month due to security issues.
We used to wait for the reopening to start our classes with or without fear. No one talked about the deteriorating security situation in the province: the mainstream media having had a history of blacking out news from Balochistan, never felt a responsibility towards pressing issues of the province, such as the story of university students living in fear, and because of this attitude, it never got the attention of the provincial and federal government.
The trauma was still fresh for those parents who lost their daughters in the blast. And now every parent was terrified and traumatized.
I remember my mother never slept in the afternoons unless she saw me return from university. She never told me that she was afraid. She wanted me to complete my graduation. This was the story of my every class fellow.  Our families wanted us to be graduated, to forget the past, and have hopes for a better future.
Terrorism in Balochistan has taken many lives from us. Their families have lost happiness.  The residents live in fear, not sure if a safe and secure future is possible.
This is not the first incident that claimed precious lives, but attacks of various nature in the past have threatened and taken many lives. Students were killed in a bomb blast targeting IT University,  Hazara coalminers were killed in a targeted attack in Mach, and the recent blast in the premises of Serena Hotel are all deadly incidents, indicating a fragile security situation.
I would not call those targeted martyred because they were not sent for jihad, but they were sent to get an education and bring change in society through education. The parents are still looking for answers to why their daughters were targeted.
They hold everyone responsible for this: politicians, the state, and the media, which is silent on the problem.
We still live in fear, not sure what the future holds for us, as the security situation is still fragile. We still hope that those in power would pay attention to the plight of people living in constant fear that something dangerous might happen to the children who are sent to get an education every day.  We want the situation to improve, but it would not happen until those in power show responsibility.  And this stage, we can only pay for things to get better!
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agree with them.
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