Stories about students

Horrors of 2007 in Swat: We need the Army

Yesterday I was reading The Express Tribune, when my eye caught an interesting statement made by the new elected chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He was boldly talking about pulling out the Pakistan Army from the Swat. I will refrain from criticising any party directives or policies here; all I want to do is to provide a clearer picture of the situation in Swat, and let the people be the jury of such an action. I remember when the Pakistan Austrian Institute for Hotel and Tourism Management (PAITHOM) was targeted by the Taliban in the Swat valley in August 2007. This kind of Taliban was ...

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When Intermediate students must fight just to take their exams

On Tuesday morning around 10am, with the sun in its full glory and waves of hot air making it impossible to stand outside, I was in the court room of the Lahore High Court awaiting my turn. As I stood there, I noticed teenagers, around 16-17 years of age, standing in the court room looking baffled. I wondered what reason had brought them here as this was certainly an unusual sight. My curiosity subsided when the reader of the court called out a case and a crowd, including these teenagers, paced towards the rostrum. These children were students of FSc/FA/intermediate, ...

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An open letter to the British Council

To whomever it may concern, I write this to you in hopes of finding answers to my queries. We have been informed that there was a breach in security of the Islamiyat and Pakistan Studies exams, outside Pakistan. Due to this, all students who had earlier written these exams, have to take them again in less than 10 days! Below is the new schedule for the exams: I would like to ask you what students have done to deserve this fate? Why should they have to suffer if the British Council was incompetent? Also, why has it taken so long for the students to be informed? If ...

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Student unions — not the bigger issue

Should student unions be restored? For half of the students studying in state-run universities, this is an important question. As for the other half, the ‘should’ in the statement ought to be placed after union, making it read ‘student unions ‘should’ be restored, therefore, making it a statement with no ifs, ands or buts. Since Ziaul Haq imposed a ban on student unions, the dynamics of student politics have changed completely. From politically charged students to violence-driven student wings, there has only been one losing party — those students that remain ‘neutral’. One often wonders as a student what platform he ...

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Student politics: At Karachi University, life is cheap

Rays of light sift through the bullet-riddled gigantic rusty gate of the dark and dismal gymnasium building even today. It is as if the ‘memory’ is conserved for the petrification of those who witnessed the tragic incident that happened right in the heart of Karachi University (KU) back in 1989. With a distinctive tone of revulsion in his voice, Talib Hussain, a security guard serving the campus for more than 25 years, points towards a rear iron-gate, “I’ll never be able to forget the scene. It has stayed with me ever since… walls pitted with holes and spattered with blood. Those ...

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‘Dosti’ between Pakistan and India

If Taylor Swift was a political analyst, she would be telling us right now,  “India and Pakistan are never, ever getting back together!” By cancelling concerts by Pakistani artists, not issuing visas and letting our women’s cricket team camp at a stadium during their tour, India has given us the proverbial lannat. The Pakistani government has responded with some serious passive-aggressive silent treatment much like an angry boyfriend. At times like these, hearing about the 50th anniversary of the Elysee treaty signed between France and Germany which ended an era of animosity, wars, bloodshed and bitterness between the two countries comes as a ...

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Education is not just about how many As you score

Recently, the British Education Secretary announced that students starting their A’ levels in England from fall 2015, will return to the previous system of an “all or nothing” exam at the end of two years of study. Eventually, these changes will not only impact exams in England, but will also trickle into tweaks to the manner in which Cambridge International Examinations and EdExcel International exams are organised. It is still not clear whether Wales and Northern Ireland will adopt these changes; Scotland has a separate system. The current system of units or modules has been criticised for allowing examination retakes and grade inflation. ...

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Giving village children a fighting chance

I am from a village in rural Punjab, Pakistan. Like most other villages, my village lacks proper infrastructure. Poor people live in houses built with mud and only the rich live in huge mansions. Children of the rich go to private schools in the city, but the poor parents cannot even afford the heavily subsidised government schools. They are left with no other choice but to educate their children in the village school. Visiting my village as a child, I remember hearing about the experiences of students in the village school. As you might or might not know, schools in villages have ...

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Nothing real can come out of the Indo-Pak visa regime

‘People-to-people contact’ is a buzzword when it comes to improving Pakistan-India relations. Emphasised so much over the years, it has become a cliché. The two countries have recently signed a new visa regime, which was endorsed by the federal cabinet last week. Under the new regime, the two countries have made an effort to ease what most people consider bottlenecks in increasing people-to-people contact such as the strict visa policies pursued by the two South Asian neighbours. It will be premature to comment if the initiative will bring expected results, since we have been seeing ‘exchanges’ at different levels for the ...

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Our teachers are loyal to money only, not students

“You’re no better than a prostitute.” These weren’t the words I was expecting to hear when I started teaching at Pakistan’s most prominent university. But here a retired admiral and at the time serving pro-rector was telling me that I am no better than a w****e. As anyone would, I took immediate offence to these words and asked for an explanation. His analogy was simple to understand. “Prostitutes aren’t loyal and they go wherever they get paid the most.” And as it was explained to me, a new faculty member, “That is what most educators in Pakistan do.” Although the words stung at first, as ...

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