While the horrifying ordeal of the 26 girls found locked in a house in Karachi is over and they have been sent back to their homes in Bajaur, there are so many questions still left to be answered. Should we thank the governors of the two provinces for arranging their transportation back to Bajaur or condemn them for their failure to curb such incidents? This is a trend now, to send young girls and boys to madrassas in cities. However, after the 18th Amendment, provinces are responsible for providing education, not outsourcing it to madrassas. There needs to be a monitoring of these schools. Often children are just given to madrassas, as they offer shelter and food. But then, these seminaries are also where children are taught to hate other sects and minorities, given guns and a vendetta, or trafficked. One father from Bajaur thought his daughter was finishing a course at a madrassa in Karachi, rather than being locked in a house in Karachi.

While it is a relief that the girls were found and returned, what sort of a welcome will they get from their families, many of whom seem to have voluntarily sent their daughters? Does it mater to them what condition they were living in? The seminary handed the girls to the owners of the house they were found in, as the owners were unable to pay off a loan it had taken from the madrassa. As repayment of the loan, the seminary had asked the family to take charge of the young girls. To what extent was this a case of trafficking, we will never know. Does it not bother the parents that their girls were treated as currency? In the last many years, scores of schools had been destroyed and female teachers attacked by militants. With radicalization over the years, madrassas are seen as a safe option while formal education is a “western agenda”. These people would rather send their girls to a “safe” all-female madrassa for religious education in Karachi, than have “western” education in a school near home where there might be male teachers.