Identity Goes Beyond Islam in Pakistan

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On January 20, militants affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban attacked Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, located in Pakistan’s beleaguered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. At least 20 students, faculty, and staff were killed, and dozens more injured. Even before the recent attack in Charsadda, Pakistan had suffered both the highest number of attacks on educational institutions (850) and the largest number of fatalities (410) in such attacks worldwide. While education embodies the knowledge, ideas, and opportunity loathed by radical militants, the attack on this university is a rejection of much more; it is a pointed assault on the celebration of ethnic leaders, pacifism, cultural pluralism, and secularism.