About 60 people from Calgary's Muslim community took to the streets to honour those lost in a recent attack on a university in northwest Pakistan that left at least 20 people dead, with calls for Canada to take a greater role to address the violence.
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Umair Ahad studied at Peshawar University, near Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, the school where Taliban gunmen opened fire last Wednesday.
"First we are struggling for education, but now we are struggling for peace," Ahad said.
Back when he was in school, he recalls the Taliban threatening people against pursuing an education.
"Don't go to school! Don't get an education!" was the warning, he said.
Ahad, now a Calgary resident, says the Taliban killed two of his cousins for being well-educated. In 2014, Taliban forces killed 141 children at a school in his home province.
"If there is no peace, how can they go there to get [an] education?" Ahad wonders.
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Asfa Riyaz shares her concern.
"The strongest and biggest rival of ignorance in this day and age is education itself, so they try to instil fear, they try to scare people from something that can abolish ignorance forever," Riyaz said.
The protesters hope the Canadian government will apply pressure on Pakistani officials to crack down on extremist factions.