Stories about madrassas

Sadly, when it comes to sexual abuse, predators don’t discriminate

Earlier this month, I wrote about a case of rape against a minor in Kasur and at the end, I wrote with quite some conviction that I would be writing about a similar incident very soon. And, here I am doing just that. Last week, bodies of three minors were recovered by the police who seemed to have been murdered after being raped, in Chunian, Kasur. However, this time, the bodies discovered were not of girls, but of boys. On the Kasur incident: There will be accountability for all. Those who do not perform in the interest of the common man ...

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Nation uniform curriculum: Are we compromising equity for equality?

In another move towards a Naya Pakistan, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has announced a uniform national curriculum policy to not only ensure the quality of education, but also provide a level playing field across the country and present equal opportunity to everyone. This may sound utopian to many, but can we start celebrating yet? Let’s unearth this thought by taking a glance at the omnipresent institution of ‘schools’. How old is this institution? Impromptu responses might suggest perhaps thousands of years old, or maybe dating back to Socrates. Not only would these responses reflect our ...

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“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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Why is Pakistan allowing an imam to call for jihad against our Shia community?

Immediately after the news of the suicide attack on Masjid-e-Nabwi was released on various TV channels, a local imam of the masjid next to my house thronged to the mike and made a thorny speech against Iran and Shias around the world. The infamous Jamia Masjid Abu Bakar Siddique also has several posters of banned outfits such as Jamaatul Dawa pasted outside its walls. The speech was full of controversies, conspiracies and hatred – and called to capsize the entire population of a minority Muslim sect in Pakistan. His open call for the Shia genocide was based on his logic that the suicide ...

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The rusty water

In the utmost silence of the dark room, he pulled the journal out from the drawer trying not to make a sound. The dust on the jacket of the cover forced him to scrunch up his nose as he withheld a sneeze. After recovering, he sat on his bedside with the journal in his lap. Under the dim moonlight beaming through the window, he began reading. June 9, 1946 Dear Diary, I think we will finally be able to stay permanently in Khushkot. Our dear uncle came last night with some official papers and Abbu had signed them. This is great news! ...

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Our reliance on Maulvis has made religion a business

On December 16, 2015, the nation observed the first death anniversary of the APS attack victims. Right now, the country is reeling from the attack on Bacha Khan University. We have suffered multiple disastrous assaults, yet the government remains unconcerned. It still has not taken any concrete steps to implement the National Action Plan. Various measures had been taken to combat the likelihood of another attack. Security had been beefed up, children had been trained on how to react, school timings had been changed and special instructions were delivered. But these were interim and private measures. Has the government taken any long-term measures to address ...

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Can fundamentalism in Pakistan be traced back to madrassas?

In Pakistan, certain madrassas have a knack for producing terrorists. The government is aware of this yet it does not have a consistent stance regarding such madrassas. After the Peshawar school attack in December, the government made it a priority to regulate madrassas, but when the information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, spoke out against them last month, not a single member of government publicly supported him. This conflicting treatment did not happen overnight. Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to Former Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ziaul Haq who wanted to ‘Islamicise’ the state. Zia’s 1979 education policy highlighted the priority to ...

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7 ways of spotting extremism before it becomes ‘terrorism’

Following recent events, Sabeen Mahmud murder and the Ismaili bus attack cases, a lot of aspects regarding the perceived idea of ‘terrorism’ have come under question. The ‘psychology’ of terrorism has now become open for debate. Earlier myths surrounding terrorism – such as certain madrassas being ‘terrorist’ nurseries and poverty being a fuel for terrorism – now appear to be hilariously absurd over simplification of facts. Extremism that leads to ‘terrorism’ is a solemn and common phenomenon – more than many of us can imagine. Such confusion emerges due to the elusiveness of terrorism. Terrorism is hard to define and so is a ‘terrorist’. One ...

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Zulfiqar Mirza and his abuse of power

On May 3, 2015, Zulfiqar Mirza marched into a police station, allegedly harassed and bullied a police official and then took along with him a few of the prisoners as he left. Because of this, the police charged him under an anti-terrorism clause and decided to arrest him. As policemen approached his farm house, a whole army of his goons came out to protect Mirza. As a result, he was granted a pre-arrest ‘protective bail’ on May 4th , which was extended to May 9th on Wednesday by the Sindh High Court. According to rumours, the extension has been put in place because ...

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Racism is alive in America

Racism is an inherent cultural vice and the University of Oklahoma (UO) is no exception to it. On the night of March 7, 2015, a group of young men belonging to the Sigma, Alpha, Epsilon (SAE) fraternity, a prominent, for lack of better term, ‘social club’, created ripples all over the World Wide Web and electronic media circles when a video captured members of the ‘brotherhood’ chanting an anti-black song. Upsetting as the event was, it prompted the school’s president, David Boren, to not only ban the fraternity but also declare that, ‘Racism is alive in the University of Oklahoma’. I have acted today to expel two students who were leaders in ...

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