Killing our teachers: A step away from freedom

Published: December 24, 2010

Principal Fazal Bari was among those gunned down by the Baloch Liberation Army.

Pakistanis have been so caught up with WikiLeaks and our very own fake version of India-centric leaks, that no one has bothered to notice that a crucial segment and institution of our society is being targeted.

The 40-page report prepared by the Human Rights Watch called “Their Future is at Stake”: Attacks on Teachers and Schools in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province,” released this month documents the killing of at least 22 teachers by suspected militants between January 2008 and October 2010. Not only are teachers being targeted, our entire education system has been hijacked by nefarious elements.

Regard for teachers and education is a “lost tradition” and the statement certainly holds true for our country. Similar to George W Bush’s complex plan to liberate Iraq, primarily by ravaging the country and killing numerous civilians, the liberation of Balochistan has also been handed to equally enlightened minds that have chosen to attack the only institution that can liberate them: education.

The report – based on interviews with teachers, students, victims’ families and friends, and government officials in Balochistan – describes these attacks and the repercussions it has on the quality of the education in the province.

“He loved teaching and for decades he remained associated with this profession. He wanted to stay in Quetta and continue teaching,” said a close friend of Fazal Bari, principal of Tameer-e-Nau High School in Quetta, who was gunned down by the Baloch Liberation Army on March 22, 2010.

Fazal’s decision to teach in a province with high security risks, limited facilities, water shortages and other inconveniences could have been recognised in a number of ways other than murder.

According to a report by Fafeen, based on the monitoring of 106 middle schools all over the country, there was an average of 43 students for every registered teacher in Balochistan. To think that we have only lost 22 lives would be rather naive as nearly 1,000 children depend on their guidance.  The report also revealed that no security guard was present at 72 per cent of the monitored schools, while Balochistan topped the charts with no security arrangements at all.

Maybe the prime minister could lend a few men from his entourage to protect some of these ailing institutions?

Truth be told, it is easy to point fingers but only the educated can be held responsible for these crimes.

The liberation of the entire nation depends on those who can teach, inspire and lead us to the threshold of our minds and only the educated class in the country can – and should – have that responsibility.


Hassaan Khan

A sub-editor on the national desk of The Express Tribune. He graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara.

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

  • Ali Hassan

    Very nice blog.Recommend

  • pigster

    wow so many likes. nice blogRecommend

  • faraz

    How can you compare US invasion of Iraq to Baloch nationalism. The teachers who have been killed are non-Balochs, and such killings take place in all kinds of nationalist movements. The reason behind these killings is not the hatred for education, but hatred for other ethnicities. For 6 decades, their resources were exploited and they were denied royalties. Most of the human development indices are the lowest in Balochistan. And alongwith economic exploitaiton, we sparked a political crisis by killing their Sardars. Now their demand for provincial autonomy has turned into a deadly nationalist movement, but we are drawing the wrong conclusions from their subversive activities. Recommend