When we drive away from Benazir Bhutto airport (named after the female Prime Minister of Pakistan, who was killed in a terrorist attack) to Islamabad, the first thing we notice are the containers straddled across the highway in several places. ‘Those are to fend off demonstrations’, our driver says kind of matter-of-factly. There is a lot of socio-political unrest in Pakistan, and that basically has been the case since the country was formed in 1947. Obviously people have become used to this kind of turmoil.
My colleague Margaret Kernan and I have come to Pakistan with staff from other Dutch organizations and from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to streamline our efforts in fighting child marriages. This remains a persistent scourge in the lives of young girls, with between 20 to 30 per cent forcibly married before they are 18 years old.
Read full blog with pictures here