A field trip to a festival of hate

Published: December 5, 2011

Screen shots of students attending the PML-N rally

“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”

Stephen King

Teachers are entrusted by parents to help mould children into ‘good’, responsible, people. They are also trusted to tell their parents the truth about what their kids are being made to do in school. That trust is one of the most important things in the student-teacher-parent relationship. Breaching it makes one an embarrassment to the profession, and threatens the welfare of the child.

In the last fortnight, there was the Gujranwala incident, where, according to this newspaper, “the local administration ordered the heads of all government schools to send students of grades eight, nine and ten to the rally, but not dressed in their uniforms. However, the plan was accidentally exposed when a number of students reached the rally in uniforms.”

No action was taken. School is a waste of time. Students need to learn to waste time and money if they’re going to become upstanding citizens like messrs Sharif and co.

An education might teach them there are better things to do than listen to strings of misinformation about how everyone but the speakers and their party are the only ones who aren’t American-Zionist-Indian-Confucian agents.

Then there was the LHC’s dismissal of a petition seeking action against the head of a public school and other government officers for taking students to Faisalabad to participate in a PML-N rally. The petition was dismissed because the petitioner had no locus standi as he was not an aggrieved party.

Misuse of taxpayer money is apparently supposed to be of no concern to taxpayers. Neither is the welfare of a child if it’s not your own. Next time you see someone thrashing a child, do NOT, and I repeat, for the love of God, do NOT intervene, because in this country, you might be found guilty of giving a damn.

The icing on the cake though was the Jamaatud Dawa protest.

“Activists as well as school children as young as ten from various districts were brought to the Lahore Press Club in buses and vans for the Jamaatud Dawa protest against the Nato attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.”

“Students aged ten to 15…thought they were going to a science exhibition and that’s what they told their parents.”

Drone strikes— bad. America— bad. India— bad.

Lying to a child’s parents to create the illusion that even children back the JuD, their convoluted interpretation of jihad, and the violence encouraged at the rally— good.

This was a virtual kidnapping. Parents were lied to and had no idea where their kids were. I’m quite sure a number of them would not have wanted their kids at the rally, and for those who argue “no harm no foul”,  what if a bomb blew up there?

Just because the kids got home safe doesn’t excuse the enormous breach of trust. Every teacher deserves to be suspended, and every principal and senior government official involved should be in jail. “Upar se order” (order from above) is no excuse. This was an injustice, and it is every person’s duty to defy orders that make them agents of injustice. Telling the police or media could have easily prevented this scenario.

During the rally, “JD leader Abdul Rehman Makki said Allah wanted them to get revenge from Christians and Americans.”

Does he have a direct line to God? And why exactly is God anti-Christian?

JD leader Saifullah Mansoor said they would kill 100 Americans for every Muslim killed.

“Thousands of fighters are ready and waiting for a call from our leader Hafiz Saeed”.

Keeping in mind that this is a ‘charity’, according to the Government of Pakistan, I wonder how many millions of fighters the largest real charity in the country, run by a ‘suspicious’ bearded man named Abdul Sattar Edhi, has at its disposal.

But most threatening of all, “JuD leader Ameer Hamza said the army chief should know he has the full support of JD” and that “ ‘JD will make all its fighters into Taliban. There will be Taliban in Punjab University, Government College, and Agriculture University Faisalabad,’ he said.”

“Hamza demanded that the government kick Americans out of not just Shamsi Airbase, but Shahbaz Airbase as well, or the JuD would do so itself.”

Politics at universities— banned.

Recruitment for a “charity” that is promoting terrorism and vigilantism— approved.

Finally, there was Abdullah Gul, son of former ISI chief, enemy of democracy and terrorist sympathiser General Hameed Gul, who said:

“the people of Pakistan aspire to wage jihad and it is time to take up the sword.”

Apparently he didn’t realise that the children were actually already engaging in jihad. They were going to school to better themselves (Jihad bil Nafs/ Jihad of the heart). JuD just stopped children from performing the most necessary form of Jihad— seeking knowledge and self-improvement.

By the way, in all this anti-BBC nonsense, why is no action being taken against the two retired military officers who feature in, and admitted to the premise of Secret Pakistan being true?

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. Anon

Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

The author is a senior sub-editor on the Islamabad Desk and also reports on diplomatic events. He tweets as @vasghar (twitter.com/vasghar)

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

  • muhammad assad bashir

    our public deliberately chooses to live in denial like an ostrich with its head in the sand who hides from the truth.we refuse to belive that it is our own pakistani muslims who have been blowing up our people,killing nearly 50,000 pakistanis.it is far far easier to blame the kafirs for all our troubles,these killers must be a yahoodi sazish or a hindu sazish to weaken the last bastion of islam.it’s time the ghairat brigade got out of its self-created delusions and saw the faces of the enemies within our own society.
    you can see them in the protest rallies calling for the murder of communities just because they are non-muslims,calling for the death of muslims who aren’t homophobic and miosgynistic enough for these religious extremists.to these people the phrase difference of opinion doesn’t exist because all these religious fascists believe that god is on their side.these people have the mentality of barbarians from the dark ages and they declare as kafir anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious ideology.Recommend

  • Shoaib

    This is exactly why we want IK to prosper! Recommend

  • Talha

    Whats “IK” got to do with this?

    And when has “IK” every talked against JD and its ilk.

    Anyone can write or say something, boast when it actually happens.Recommend

  • Jahaan Ara

    The simple question : Why dont Hameed Gul and Hafiz Saeed go to Jihad and become shaheed? Are they afraid of shahadat ? Ha Ha. They want others’ children to be shaheed, not their own kids, not themselves! Bravo .Recommend

  • Sajid

    Very true. I don’t have children but I can still imagine the pain and agony these kids parents must have gone through. What if one of the pupils got kidnapped? What if there was a bomb blast ? What if there was some other unfortunate accident?

    And as far as these JUD leaders and hameed gul is concerned I want to ask them why is it always poor deprived kids who are recruited for jihad? Lets for a change stop brainwashing other peoples innocent kids Hafiz Makki and Hameed Gul and let your children become shaheeds and kill infidels in Afghanistan. Recommend

  • http://www.pmln.com.pk/ Sohail Rafeeq

    Someone should come up and write and things about Khan’s double standards also. Why Tribune only publishes anti Nawaz Shareef material, PMLN has vote bank in Punjab and everybody should respect it.Recommend

  • Talha

    And Shoaib, “IK” is very close to Hamid Gul.

    “IK” started his political career under Gul.

    So such things will only worsen with your man in the lead.Recommend

  • Nadir

    Then there was also the case of where CDA junior staff and children from Islamabad and CDA government schools were rounded up and brought out for pro-ISI rallies after the OBL raid. The generals wouldnt get there kids out of private schools to stand under the May sun, but have no qualms to send others children as propoganda tools. Recommend

  • http://pmln.org Hamza Shahbaz

    check Jemimas twitter post
    *Jemima Khan
    No, I didn’t give him a London flat either. He owned a flat in London when we met, which he bought with his cricket earnings.*

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    @Sohail – It is this very paradigm that has gotten us in trouble: “PMLN has vote bank in Punjab and everybody should respect it”

    How about doing the right thing for the sake of it rather than spinning our heads over whos, whats, and buts?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Solid factual stuff, this. The destruction of our educational system is by design and not by accident. Recommend

  • http://www.webs.ceen.com Taha Ceen Tayyab

    Can anyone explain to me why the writer has pulled Edhi into all this??
    If this was supposed to be sarcastic it wasnt clear!Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Taha Ceen Tayyab: “Can anyone explain to me why the writer has pulled Edhi into all this?? If this was supposed to be sarcastic it wasnt clear!”

    JD leaders claim to have thousands of armed fighters and openly threaten killing and this is the exact opposite of what people like Edhi do – who run hospitals and ambulances for injured and also arrange burial for dead.

    Hence the author implied that it is disrepsectful to true charities like the one run by Edihi to call Jamat Ud Dawa a charity.Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Shoaib: “This is exactly why we want IK to prosper!”

    1. Imran Khan is quite close to Hamid Gul
    2. He has publicly shared a stage with Hafiz Saeed of Jamaat Ud Dawa
    3. When pointely asked by Karan Thapar of NDTV whether he would take action against entities like JD if he came to power, he avoided an answer. He said Pakistan was highly radicalized and speaking about certain subjects would put his own life at risk.

    So now Tell me again : how would Imran coming to power help this situation?Recommend

  • rehmat

    No wonder there is an education emergency in this country:
    1. Education budget slashed so that army can have toys. Not even enough budget to rebuild the schools impacted by floods or terrorist bombing
    2. Hate filled curriculum
    3.Administration forcing teachers to lie to parents to further objectives of not just army but terror outfits.
    4. Judges giviing a free pass to government that violates parent teacher trust and forcibly buses kids to government protests.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    It is especially shocking, how the banned organizations are also openly exploiting children for their own vested interests.Recommend

  • Sikandar

    @rehmat Why did you avoid quoting the full response of IK to Karan Thapar?
    IK said there should be NO militant groups, no exception, period. He only avoided taking names.
    In his more recent interview to a Pakistani anchor Shahzed Khanzada, he said NO militancy in Kashmir through Pakistan. All military organizations whether political or religious would be either reconciled to give up arms or forcefully banned as this is in the interest of Pakistan.

    I am surprised at how some people twist interviews to label an oxford grad as an extremist. He is more enlightened than any of those PPP or PML guys. Recommend