Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of the most fragile states in Pakistan. Religious extremism has grown to become one of the biggest security threats to the region. Militant groups have been known to incite extremism and violence, increasingly amongst young people. Pakistani forces have struggled to maintain control in the region. Additionally, many extremist groups and civilian communities view international interventions with mistrust and resentment.
For women especially, extremism has led to growing insecurity – many fear kidnap or worse. Local peacebuilder Gulalai Ismail is working with women and young people to create real change.
Women are not only victims of conflict, they are drivers of peace. Women’s voices must be heard if peace is to last. — Gulalai Ismail
At just 16 Gulalai Ismail, and her sister Saba, set up Aware Girls with a group of school friends to change the lives of young women in Pakistan. They began by focusing on women’s rights, and as their membership has grown, they are now training young activists to become local peacebuilders, challenging violence and extremism.
Gulalai was recently interviewed by the BBC World Service about her life, inspiration, and peacebuilding work. Listen below
For more information, insight and analysis on the conflict in Pakistan, visit Insight on Conflict.