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Abstract

This article was derived from the author’s Postdoctoral Study, ‘The War on Terror is a War on Women in Swat Valley: Women’s Education under Terror and Displacement (2006-2011). Women’s education was affected the most during periods of terrorism in Swat Valley. The main targets of the militants were women’s educational institutes. The situation further worsened when the state government launched military operations in the name of the war on terror (counter-terrorism), which forced a huge number of local inhabitants to leave the valley and utterly blocked their educational accessibility for a long time. This study addresses how those women experienced or somehow challenged terrorism and counter-terrorism for their continuation or discontinuation of education. The study is based primarily on the qualitative data analysis of seven in-depth semi-structured interviews from the seven tehsils (sub-districts) of Swat. The study examines the actual role of women under conditions of patriarchal-peace, armed conflicts (terrorism and counter-terrorism), and displacement. This includes the local politics of Tanzeem-i-Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM), and the influence of patriarchal culture on the country’s politics are further analysed. While addressing the above issues, this study also highlights the need to embark on further in-depth research on Swat with special reference to women’s education; such research can be used to support Swati women in their struggle for education, well-being, and empowerment.

Note on the Author

Dr. Shabana Shamaas Gul Khattak has recently completed her Postdoctoral study from SOAS, University of London. Until now she wrote with her father’s name (Shamaas Gul Khattak) to acknowledge his inspirational role in her academic life, but currently she is keeping her gender identity, too. Dr. Khattak received her Diploma in English Studies from Cambridge College of Advance Studies, before stepping in to her MA in Education at Brunel University West London. Her desire to escape the traditional role of Pukhtun women took her to the Doctoral Study at Middlesex University London. Her feminist studies explored gender issues in higher education in Pakistan with special reference of Khyber Pukhtunkhwah, her native province. She is the author of the book (NWFP Women in the Freedom Struggle for Pakistan), four book chapters and number of international journal articles. She is currently working on two book proposals; one as a solo-author and the other as an editor. Her main areas of interest are: gender, culture and religious discourses, feminism (particularly Islamic feminism), higher education, women’s studies, social justice and language politics in Khyber Pukhtunkhwah.

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