It has been reported ample amount of times by the media that we are losing people as a result of terrorism and militancy. Everyone is well aware of how damaging the extremist ideology is and the extent to which it has penetrated within the system. However, there is one realisation missing among all this. The pillar that we rely upon is the new target.

According to the report released by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday, terrorist activities leave the educational structure of the country devastated. They want our children, especially our girls, out of school.

When the Taliban took over Swat Valley in 2007, 900 schools were closed. 120,000 girls stopped going to school as a result. We witnessed the cold murder of school going children in the Army Public School (APS) attack in 2014. In 2016, several lives were lost again in the Bacha Khan University attack.

These attacks stem out of the belief that modern education creates apostates. And this is not limited to the Taliban. Internal militant groups also hold the same belief. In 2014, assailants related to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi blew up a school in Hangu (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).

Innocent children are being attacked, and the only crime they have committed is the desire to get education; one of the basic rights that our state offers. This is where we stand right now; a point in history where some are not allowed to go to school and some are freely converting universities and colleges into sanctuaries of militancy. When state authorities are talking about madrassah reforms, they are reinforcing extremist ideas within our educational setup.

In such times, when the government is too nonchalant about the implementation of anti-terror laws and the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) agenda lacks any address whatsoever towards the protection of educational institutes; one can realise how they are debilitating our foundation.

Training teachers in the use of arms, arranging mock security drills and revising boundary walls is not the solution. When the state fails to execute terrorists, these measures will be fruitless. When there is no coordination between the federal and provincial governments in reducing militancy, arranging a security guard outside a school will do no good. The government has to think of substantial long term policies that they can execute. In the fight of ideologies, children do not have to be the victims. Their education is mandatory and they have to be protected in order to attain it.