Don’t let teachers bring guns to school in KP… Please!

Published: June 13, 2015

Teachers handle a pistol during a weapons training session for school, college and university teachers at a police training centre in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP

It would appear that the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is still waiting for its ‘change’ or tabdeeli. Many Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters argue that things have changed and we all hope they are right.

But the one thing they might want to ask their leader to look into is the alarming incidents of gun violence in academic institutions. A study conducted done in 2006 revealed that 77% of the homicidal deaths in K-P were a result of gun related incidents/gunshot wounds.

Maybe no one in the K-P government knew or understood just how violence can erupt or hadn’t read that study when they decided to provide guns/ammunition to the teachers in K-P as a ‘self-defence’ measure. The answer to violence, according to them it seems, was more violence. The answer to security threats was arming everyone with guns and turning the province’s schools into militias.

Sure enough, on Thursday June 11, 2015, a teacher was cleaning his gun in Mingora (which begs the question why his gun was being cleaned in class; while delivering the guns/arms training to teachers, were these teachers not taught the proper and safe use of firearms?), when he accidentally shot a student of class five.

The little boy died on the spot.

It’s disturbingly ironic that it is the children, again, that are under threat after the Peshawar attack. In October 2014, groups clashed at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar and a student died as a result of exchange of fire. Brawls and clashes take place at all universities, but providing teachers with ammunition is insipid to say the least.

The world is actually light years ahead of us; they are actually lobbying for gun control. The gun-related deaths that occur in the United States have raised serious alarm amongst human rights groups and an active movement against the gun lobby is underway. However, Pakistan has found the novel solution of finding peace by giving teachers no less than guns.

While there are many solutions to the security problem in K-P, giving teachers guns isn’t one of them. Accidental gunshots are only one of the many serious repercussions that follow with gun/firearm proliferation, as we have seen.

The K-P government must immediately discourage teachers to use/bring firearms into schools and academic institutions so as to prevent these incidents from occurring. It is already a shame that local government polls in K-P have been strung with gun-related violence and deaths. It is a mystery to me why the provincial government there would not act upon or immediately revoke anyone’s arms in any place other than a shooting range or a hunting ground.

Mahwash.Badar.

Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ctavanti@live.com

    An active movement against the gun lobby is underway in the US? Yeah a couple hundred clueless morons financed by an old, white billionaire doesn’t make for much of a “movement” here in the states. They’re losing, badly, everybody knows it except they themselves, so I’d refrain from using them as an example of “change”.Recommend

  • Jagmohan Trivedi

    Political decision to arm school teachers and students to use fire arms was an
    immediate reaction to brutal killing of some 150 students and teachers at the
    Army School in Peshawar.It was opposed in many quarters that introduction
    of arms in schools was not good step as terrorists are highly trained,motivated
    suicide bombers and not a deterrent.Luckily in the past six months schools have
    been spared,but some students lost life due to mishandling of arms.It is the time
    the government may revisit the policy by devising alternative security and make
    the teachers and students to devote attention to education.Recommend

  • jay

    Is this serious news ? Guns and teachers ? if true extremely disturbing news !Recommend

  • Humza

    As they say, “Why let the truth stand in the way of a good story? ” Unfortunately you are only scratching the surface when it comes to the level of writing and journalism in Pakistan. The author seems to have no grasp of the issue of gun violence in US schools which has been a recurrent debate for the last few decades. It only heats up from time to time when there are mass shootings such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy where 28 people were killed. As it stands, the National Rifle Association has a lot more weight when it comes to any attempt at gun control. Bowling for Columbine was the famous documentary made by Michael Moore in 2002 where it depicted the sorry state of gum control laws in the US. Michael Moore was one of many prominent Americans arguing passionately for greater gun control laws but to no avail. Obama despite his own impassioned pleas has not dented gun control laws in any serious way. Despite what the author writes, there are plenty of folks in the US who continue to argue that teachers and school personnel should be armed. Long before the KPK government armed teachers, school district teachers have been carrying concealed weapons in US schools. This year, the Arkansas Senate voted 31 – 1 in favour of allowing teachers and administrators to function as armed guards in schools. So no the author is flat wrong when she says KPK officials have found a ” novel solution” to finding peace and she is wrong again to say that the active lobby in the US has curtailed gun control. Personally I am against arming teachers in schools but to support any argument on misrepresentation of facts in the US does not help.Recommend

  • haider

    Get your facts straight, woman. USA has such lenient gun laws that anyone over 21 can buy AND carry a firearm at all times.Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    This accident would probably not take place if we had easily accessible and affordable firearms training schools all over the country, like USA. And who told you that the gun control is winning in USA. They are losing badly and after every few months, a pro-gun law is being passed in some state of the country. And that’s simply because majority of the Americans consider the right to self defense a God given right, and no govt has the right to take it away.Recommend