Women NGO Workers Fight for Safety in Pakistan

The safety of NGO workers in Peshawar, Pakistan is endangered by Islamic extremists who charge that NGO activities violate the codes of Islam. In early July, Maulvi Ziaul Haq, a local Islamic cleric who resides near the headquarters of the NGOs, accused NGOs in weekly sermons of spreading secularism. Six years ago, more than 15 people were killed in an armed movement by extremists who sought to enforce Islamic law in the area. The Amal Project, which has established 40 community-based schools for girls, has been targeted by extremists. NGO workers suggested that the Islamic clerics’ opposition to gender equality largely explains the hostility towards NGOs. The clerics “do not want educated women around and feel threatened by them,” remarked Noor Marjan, a local woman working in the Amal Project.


Interpress Service 25 July 2000

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