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 Tampering with the curriculum: by Zubair Torwali  in daily times, dec 16, 2014

The writer heads the Institute for Education and Development in Swat.

Whether the curriculum needs to be in line with the cognitive needs and interests of children or whether it should be based on geopolitical and ideological wrangling is a question not without merit in Pakistan. Having an immensely polarised society, popular discourse never allows any consideration of the country’s religious, cultural and linguistic diversity. Education in Pakistan is sandwiched between the political ideologies of political parties, pressure groups and jihadi outfits.


A study of education policymaking in Pakistan clearly shows that it has always favoured the religious extreme right and the bourgeoisie, both safeguarding each other’s interests. In the wake of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan in 2010, many subjects were devolved to the provinces by abolishing the concurrent list, including education, whereby the provinces can now legislate on education a....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

The greatest loss: by Mauna Gauhar in the Nation, Dec 16, 2014

The writer is a mental health professional based in Islamabad.

The 16th day of December, the fall of Dhaka, is the darkest in Pakistan’s history. The chaos that ensued, the lives lost, the migrations, economic loss, the surrender of the Pakistan army; all these factors impacted the nation’s psyche in a fundamental way. The issue of Dhaka’s fall was hushed for a variety of reasons. As a result, the grieving that followed the loss never became entirely visible. At the anniversary of the fall of Dhaka, the day passes without generating sentiment. And so it remains, that the breaking up of Pakistan has neither been openly discussed nor deeply researched. As a result, no lessons have been learnt from this tragic chapter in our history.

Issues between the two wings of the state of Pakistan started from 1947. By 1970, sentiments for national unity had weakened due to constant political, economic and social prejudice and neglect and the conflict between the two wings erupte....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

What if…: op-ed byJaved Jabbar  in The News, December 16, 2014

The writer is a former senator and federal minister. www.javedjabbar.com

Several factors led to the dismemberment of the original Pakistan on December 16, 1971. One of these has received far less attention in the public discourse than deserved. This factor was the disregard for a fundamental dimension of the constitution-making role of the National Assembly elected in December 1970 as expressed in the formulation of the Legal Framework Order (LFO) under which the assembly was elected for its prime purpose.

The disregard was represented by the fact that the LFO did not require a simple majority – leave alone a two-thirds majority – of the five provinces of the country to endorse a new constitution.

The LFO’s ambivalence on this aspect allowed for a simple majority of the members of the National Assembly to validate all decisions, including those concerning constitution-making.

Given the inflexibility of the Awami League – wholly centred in East Pakist....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

Writing on the wall…which some still can’t read: by Ayaz Amir  in The News, December 16, 2014

This movement is not to be stopped or wished away. I am not expressing a desire, merely pointing to a reality getting stronger by the day. If it had no staying power this movement would have finished at the end of August, boredom and ennui taking over. Dispiritedness would have set in.

After all, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) – its workers more charged and organised in the beginning as compared to the workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – has abandoned the field, for reasons best known to the Reverend Allama. As winter sets in, and a new dynamic takes hold over the national landscape, only the memory of that struggle remains, in which PAT activists played such a significant role.

There was nothing to prevent the PTI from suffering a similar fate. It too could have succumbed to physical fatigue and weariness of spirit. But it has gone from strength to strength, in the heat of this movement becoming a stronger and more organised party…its workers, activis....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

The general speaks: by Ashraf Jehangir Qazi  in Dawn December 16th , 2014

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan.

FORTUNATE is the country that has professionally ‘thinking’ generals but unfortunate is the country that has politically ‘thinking’ generals. In Pakistan, our battles have largely been planned and fought by ‘unthinking’ generals, and our politics and policies have been largely shaped by politically thinking generals. The result is where we are.


Some observers might, with a bit of irony, suggest this is the ‘genius’ of Punjab at work which ‘outsiders’, including Pakistanis, cannot fathom. Non-Punjabis, without a trace of irony, might assert that however large a proportion of Pakistan the Punjab may be, it can never ever equal Pakistan; and if politics and policymaking proceed on the assumption that Pakistan is effectively Greater Punjab, that would be a blow to the possibility of developing a genuine Pakistani nationhood that no adversar....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

Does Imran have a sense of decency?: edit  in The News, December 16, 2014

The last of Imran Khan’s city-specific shutdowns before his scheduled countrywide strike followed the pattern of previous protests. The PTI was able to once again bring out a large crowd in Lahore, managed to shut the city down and indulged in further unprovoked violence. More than anything else, it is the attacks against journalists, specifically those working for Geo News, which taint the PTI’s cause. This time the targets were Sana Mirza and Ameen Hafeez. Mirza was brought to tears after being sexually harassed and pelted with bottles by the protesters and Hafeez was also hit and injured by flying objects. No amount of perfunctory apologies or attempts to shift the blame by Imran Khan will now suffice. He knows that his unjustified vilification campaign against Geo News has real-world consequences where innocent journalists going about their everyday duties have to fear for their lives. Add the strain of misogyny that crept in with the attacks on Mirza and the PTI protesters hav....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

PTI Holds Lahore Hostage: edit in the Nation, Dec 16, 2014

On Monday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a party that continues to proudly reveal its fascist tendencies, held several parts of Lahore hostage to its increasingly violent movement against Nawaz Sharif’s government. Chairman Imran Khan began his final speech by congratulating his ‘tigers’ and ‘tigresses’ for successfully shutting down the city. Reportedly, four people lost their lives when PTI protesters  prevented ambulances from reaching the hospital in time. A woman was seen crying and protesting when she was not allowed to leave the city to attend her mother’s funeral.

Traders, who refused to observe the PTI’s call, were beaten up and forced to close their shops, leading many, who didn’t open them to begin with out of fear, to truly appreciate the wisdom of their decision. Metro buses were stoned, and the service was suspended. Commuters, who dared to exercise their right to movement, were thrashed by the party’s hooligans and asked to return home.Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

Madrassa Livestock: edit in the Nation, Dec 16, 2014

While the horrifying ordeal of the 26 girls found locked in a house in Karachi is over and they have been sent back to their homes in Bajaur, there are so many questions still left to be answered. Should we thank the governors of the two provinces for arranging their transportation back to Bajaur or condemn them for their failure to curb such incidents? This is a trend now, to send young girls and boys to madrassas in cities. However, after the 18th Amendment, provinces are responsible for providing education, not outsourcing it to madrassas. There needs to be a monitoring of these schools. Often children are just given to madrassas, as they offer shelter and food. But then, these seminaries are also where children are taught to hate other sects and minorities, given guns and a vendetta, or trafficked. One father from Bajaur thought his daughter was finishing a course at a madrassa in Karachi, rather than being locked in a house in Karachi.

While it is a relief that the girls we....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

Making a comeback: ANP focuses on regaining lost ground as others falter

By Manzoor Ali   in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2014.

PESHAWAR:  Internal rifts, ambitions of national politics and dreams of toppling the federal government are dominating politics in K-P, but the one player that is focused on regaining lost ground is Awami National Party (ANP).


Over the last few weeks, the ANP has held conventions and public meetings in Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan and Shangla in a bid to end the political isolation caused by terrorist attacks on its leaders and activists before the 2013 general elections. With the ruling PTI’s attention diverted elsewhere, ANP’s plan to reconnect with its power base in K-P could not have come at a more opportune time. The ruling party is embroiled in its battle with PML-N-led federal government and the last time PTI Chairperson Imran Khan visited the province was on November 18.


Another major threat to the ANP is JUI-F, but it seems this party has held back on its politic....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments

Form commission or face agitation, Imran warns Nawaz: by  Faizan Bangash & Mumtaz Alvi   in The News, December 16, 2014

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has warned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to form a judicial commission (JC) to probe the election rigging within 48 hours or continue facing street agitation against his government.

He said his party could end its protest and take back the December 18 demonstration call if the government announced to set up a judicial commission. “The Judicial Commission can be set up within one day, and if Nawaz Sharif does not constitute it, it will be hard for him to remain in power,” said Imran Khan while addressing his supporters at the Charing Cross, The Mall, on Monday.

Imran Khan warned that his party activists would not leave the streets and continue their protest until justice was provided to them. He told the gathering that Lahore had once again given its verdict and the successful demonstration in the city proved that the mandate of his people was hijacked in the last general elections. He said he had been ....... Read more

December 16, 2014   No Comments