Stories about madrassa

From slaps and shakedowns to metal rods and death, the evolution of corporal punishment

This new year has been a horrific one for the children of Pakistan so far. Days after the brutal murder of little Zainab, nine-year-old Muhammad Hussain’s Quran teacher beat him with a metal rod so badly that the boy died. Unshaken and unrepentant, the teacher has since justified the murder as a simple case of a teacher disciplining his pupil that accidentally went horribly wrong. This is the Mullah who beat an 8-year-old student Muhammad Hussain to death at a Madrassa in Karachi's Bin Qasim Town pic.twitter.com/oAlLpDv4Qh — Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) January 22, 2018 Most of us still have memories of the slaps ...

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Zainab was clearly not the last one as cases keep popping up, yet sex education remains taboo in Pakistan

Recently, a school guard of a private school in Karachi was detained by the police for allegedly molesting a minor girl. A five-year-old girl barely escaped a rape attempt in Bahawalpur. The body of a four-year-old girl was discovered in the sugar cane fields of Mardan; she had been raped and strangled to death. Policemen in Kasur search in vain to nab the serial killer wanted in the rape case of Zainab, a case that has taken the country by storm. The news of these horrific incidents keep popping up with no end in sight. My head spins when I get my daily updates, ...

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The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Dear Imran Khan, if you want justice for Mashal, then start with your councillor, Arif Mardan

I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan visiting the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known. 1. This morning I condoled with Mashal's family and was moved by their amazing courage and dignity pic.twitter.com/AkZFdqxyIp — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 18, 2017 So congratulations, Mr Imran, you knew that you would offend your coalition partners, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government by openly condemning the brutal murder of the innocent student. Even your chief minister, Pervez Khattak, said that there was no written or verbal proof of him committing blasphemy. ...

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Will Operation Raddul Fasaad be effective?

February 17, 2017: Within hours of the Sehwan attack, terrorist hideouts are magically discovered all over the country and over a hundred “militants” are killed across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the tribal belt. Yet another military operation, by the name of “Raddul Fasaad” (“elimination of discord/violence/mischief”) is announced. I don’t know about you but I’ll tell you what I’m feeling; it’s called deja vu, the feeling that this has all happened before. And that might just be because it has. Flashback to June 15, 2014: Following the attack on Jinnah International Airport, the military launched Operation “Zarb-e-Azb” (“cutting strike”). This operation targeted militant hideouts in North Waziristan and along the Afghan border. Within a week, ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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Can learning Arabic really prevent terrorist attacks? PML-N surely thinks so

I suppose it is reasonable to assume that the men and women in our National Assembly are mentally fit – people who think and act rationally. We elect them every five years, hoping that they will solve our problems and make us proud of being citizens of Pakistan. But then, one of them says something completely absurd which makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall and regret not going abroad after I graduated (those were the days when it was very easy to get a US visa). I am referring to a female member of the ...

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“If you want to teach here, you have to wear a burqa”

“You just have to wear a burqa inside the school; you are free to take it off when you leave the school premises,”said the principal of a Karachi-based school while interviewing a candidate. “It’s just a garment,” thought the candidate, and a garment that was helping her get a higher salary than all the other schools. So she signed the teaching contract and took the burqa home with her. All day at home, that burqa in her bag haunted her. How could she don something all day that represented something she hadn’t fully accepted in her heart? Wasn’t she lying to impressionable children? Wasn’t it hypocritical of her ...

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When the media becomes the judge, the jury and the executioner

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was the suspect.”- Steven Wright The chief minister revealed his name as he was arrested as a suspect. Free and fair media pulled out his photographs and life details from social media and the news spread like wild fire. Today, he is the poster child for a new debate and sad reality; the well-educated radicalised extremist. In present day Pakistan, peace and calm refers to the short uneasy intervals between the continual series of horrific terrorist attacks. Uneasy because each incident emphasises our vulnerabilities, dramatically plays out our insecurities and triggers many ...

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Why is PML-N allowing foreign funding for Pakistani madrassas?

Funding for religious seminaries in Pakistan has always been a difficult topic to cover. For one, most seminaries are unregistered, making it difficult to deduce the exact source of their funding. Even when seminaries are registered, questioning the source of funding remains a no-go area because of the sensitive topic of religion. Being the country’s largest province by population, the presence of a large number of religious seminaries in Punjab, both registered and unregistered, is natural. Eyebrows have always been raised when it comes to the influence of religious seminaries based in the province, but the source of funding received by ...

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