27 Mar 2013

Female school teacher shot dead in Pakistan

Militants are suspected of shooting dead a female teacher and beating up her 15-year-old son in Pakistan. The attack is condemned by former prime minister Gordon Brown.

Teacher Shehnaz Bibi, shot dead in Pakistan (screengrab)

The attack by armed men took place in Shah Kas, a village in the volatile Khyber tribal region.

Shehnaz Bibi was returning home after attending classes at a community girls school in the Takhta Baig area of the Jamrud subdivision, hardly a kilometre west of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A local senior government official, Jehangir Azam Khan, said it was a targeted killing.

As bad as the Malala Yousafzai shooting

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who now campaigns for girls’ education, condemned the attack which he said echoed the attempted murder of teenage schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban:

“This is a terrible shooting .. as serious as what happened what happened to Malala a few months ago, where someone has been shot simply because they want girls to go to school.”

According to Mr Khan, Ms Bibi, from Peshawar, was the head teacher at a girls school. He describing her as a dedicated teacher with 24 years experience.

Family members of the murdered teacher, said she had been teaching at a government-run girls school in Peshawar but was recently promoted to grade 14 and was transferred to Takhta Baig in the Khyber tribal region.

Son beaten

Ms Bibi left behind three children, including 15-year old Daniyal Ahmad who was accompanying his mother when they came under attack.

The teenager said that after finishing classes at the school, he and his mother were walking towards a bus stop to catch a bus and return home in Peshawar:

“Two armed men arrived there on motorbike and asked me to leave my mother. I stuck to my mother as I saw pistols in their hands but they thrashed me and started kicking at me and opened fire my mother. They shot her in the head, legs and chest, and then escaped.”

Government official Jehangir Azam said Ms Shehnaz had died on the spot.

High risk area

Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region is considered one of the most dangerous tribal regions for female schoolteachers, doctors, NGOs’ workers and social workers.

Two female health workers and an NGO worker had been killed in same area in the past few months.