AsiaNews has long stressed the importance of education as a factor of redemption and growth for Pakistan, thorough a dossier devoted to education (see, Education can stop the Taliban in Pakistan). 25 million children in Pakistan – out of a total of about 180 million inhabitants - are denied the right to study, 30% of the population lives in conditions of "extreme" educational poverty. In rural areas, one girl in three attends school and two out of three people, between 6 and 16 years are illiterate. About 30% study in private institutions, 6% in the madrassas - Koranic schools - but the figure could be much higher, especially in remote areas.
During the meeting, at the Saint Mary Institute in Rawalpindi Paul Bhatti said that "peace is necessary for the development of the nation" and the socio-economic restoration of " the most marginalized classes of society," that people "of different faiths" can work "for the welfare" of Pakistan. He also explained that young people have the "talent and ability" to "redeem" the image of the motherland in the eyes of the international community. "I hope - concluded the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister - that young Pakistanis with the same spirit contribute to the development of the nation."
The swearing in ceremony was also attended by the Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Mgr. Rufin Anthony, who showed appreciation for the role played by Paul Bhatti and his efforts "in relation to addressing and solving the problems of minorities in Pakistan." His contribution, added the prelate, in the promotion of interreligious dialogue provides "an opportunity to create a new environment" designed to "build peace and socio-economic growth."
At the end of the ceremony Patras Bhatti, dean of St. Mary, recalled the institution's contribution to the promotion of education and thanked the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for having "devoted his time to the school and its students" . (DS)