Why Was This Private School Principal Murdered?

Zahid Ali Baloch, a US-educated private school principal, was murdered for promoting Western-style education in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.

balochistan-baloch-schoolZahid Ali Baloch was an educator who believed that males and females were entitled to an equal education.

Baloch advocated education equality despite threats from militants and fundamentalists in private schools. Schools in Panjgur, a district in Balochistan, were targeted by a religious organization called Tanzeem-ul-Islami-ul-Furqan.

For more on how extremists have threatened educational institutions in Balochistan, read here and here.

The threats against private schools in Panjgur compelled the students to protest after one school principal’s car was set ablaze. In another instance a school van was set on fire because parents stopped sending their children to schools.

In response to this violence, thousands of students rallied for peace in Panjgur. Dr. Malik Baloch, Balochistan’s Chief Minister, later visited the schools and assured a swift response to provide safety and security for educational institutions. Believing that the situation would improve, parents have recently decided to send their children back to schools, and those private schools that had temporarily closed have resumed.

Some took to Twitter to express their grief and outrage over Baloch’s death.

This new attack is alarming and seems to reinforce the belief that certain figures in Pakistan are trying to suppress modernization by denying equal education for all citizens.

Aziz Ejaz is a freelance writer, columnist and a poet. He contributes to the Balochistan Point and is subeditor at the Monthly Bolan Voice.

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