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Martyred female trainers were imparting vocational training to women

Peshawar

February 23, 2021

MIRANSHAH/PESHAWAR: The four female trainers who were martyred in Mir Ali area in North Waziristan on Monday had gone from nearby Bannu district to impart vocational training to local women.

One female worker remained safe as she was dropped off at the first vocational centre of the town.The female trainers ran workshops aimed at empowering fellow women in Mir Ali subdivision of the militancy-plagued North Waziristan tribal district.

North Waziristan’s district police chief Shafiullah Gandapur said they were not informed about the visit of the female social workers to the area.“Had they informed us, we would have provided them security as North Waziristan had suffered from militancy in the past and it will take time for the situation to become normal,” he said.

A large number of security personnel later arrived in Ipi village where the attack had taken place and cordoned off the area but it was too late and the terrorists had managed to escape.According to the police official, a local NGO Sabawoon had hired the female workers to train women in North Waziristan.

Sabawoon, however, later disowned the fallen social workers, though it paid tributes to them for the great services they delivered to empower poor local women.The police in North Waziristan said Sabawoon had signed MoU with another NGO, Bravo Institute, to run a project.

This correspondent later found that the female workers were in fact hired by Bravo College of Technology in Peshawar to help local women gain vocational skills such as sewing and embroidery in North Waziristan.

Fayaz Khan, the chief executive of the college, confirmed that they had signed MoU with Sabawoon to run a project in North Waziristan. “We arranged a three-month training for 34 females in Mir Ali and established five different centres there. Besides vocational education, each trainee was paid Rs5,000 a month during their training,” he added.

He said since it was a very conservative area therefore they arranged female trainers of nearby Bannu district who could understand the Pashto dialect of North Waziristan easily. “These females used to go to North Waziristan four days a week and train the females about different skills, including sewing and embroidery and the aim was to empower them with multiple skills so they can easily earn their livelihood at home and support their families,” he said.

He said the three-month training was supposed to conclude on February 24 and all the female trainees would be given their kits worth Rs40,000.

The females teachers who were attacked, he said, were hardworking and committed to their cause. “I was shocked when I came to know about this unfortunate incident. Is this the way to pay back to someone for their dedication and hard work?,” he asked.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.The incident sent a wave of shock and concern among the residents of North Waziristan. Some of them questioned they were told that the tribal district had been cleared of militants.

North Waziristan runs along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and served as a base for the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, including al-Qaeda, until 2014, when the army launched a massive offensive against them.

The local community was uprooted and had to leave their homes and villages for a long period so the military could clear North Waziristan of insurgents.The assault came amid an increase in attacks claimed by the Pakistani Taliban in the deeply conservative area in recent months and amid concern that the insurgents may be regrouping.

The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stated to be operating from across the border in Afghanistan has become active in North Waziristan and South Waziristan and claimed a number of attacks on the security forces recently.

Unlike the past, the Taliban do not currently control a particular area.In the past in areas under their control, the militants banned girls’ education and strictly prohibited polio vaccination.