Curriculum is like a building block. It is actually the Master Plan for the future development of our new generation. It decides what mindset do we want to induce in your young saplings and what kind of people we want them to be. In Pakistan, sadly, there has never been any serious effort to improve or revise the curriculum in Post Zia Days. Most of the Curriculum taught during the reformist regime of Bhutto was more or less the same as was taught during 1950s.
In the pursuit of legitimacy he heavily censored Pakistani History. It was nothing but a mere Whitewash on the recently inflicted wound of East Pakistan. Well, the curriculum has been a problem in Pakistan along with the Medium of Education. The famous Language Riots of 1952 were due to the removal of Bangla Language as Medium in East Pakistan. West Pakistan autocratic government made One-Unit System largely aimed to curtail the vast Bengali population of then Pakistan. One-Unit system actually wiped off the concept of Mother Language. Language Riots in Dhaka left dozens dead and UN in recognition of the sacrifices of Bengali Pakistanis to protect their Mother Language celebrates February 21, when Dhaka University was raided by Pakistani Security Forces as World Mother Language Day.
However this huge sacrifice of Bengali Pakistanis never made it into our Pakistani Textbooks and Curriculum. During the time of Bhutto this episode was removed from the History altogether. There was no mention of Mother Language Riots and neither does Pakistan ever celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 21st in official capacity. This is pretty understandable considering the failure of Pakistani Deep State and reluctant withdrawal from declaring Urdu as only National Language of Pakistan.
After the breakup of East Pakistan, Bhutto became Civil Martial Law Administrator and assumed the herculean task of developing a Constitution acceptable to whole Pakistan (that was just West Pakistan and East Pakistan became Bangladesh due to 1971 Indo-Pakistan war). However, there was nothing significant on the curriculum.
Bhutto was ousted in the coup of 1979 and then begin the dark era for Pakistan and the seeds of this poisonous crop was sown and we are still harvesting the thorns and thistles sown by Zia ul Haq and his cronies. It was the dark time of Zia ul Haq that the special emphasis of government was on curriculum. Zia ul Haq designated his handpicked team to introduce hotchpotch into the historical accounts of Pakistan and to write history books suiting his interests of Jihadist agenda.
He not only distorted the History but fancy non-existent accounts of Golden Islamic age in India was created. Pakistan’s diverse culture was discarded and Zia tried to divide Pakistani society into pre-1000 AD tribal Arabia. In order to achieve his infamous goals of Talibanization (at that time Mujahideen factories to wage Jihad on Soviet Union with American and Saudi Money), Zia ul Haq especially focused on Islamic Studies and Pakistan Studies. Fictitious accounts of Jinnah’s involvement with theocratic Mullahs, introduction of Muslim League’s Non-existent Jihadist tendencies and hotchpotch in the Constitutional Texts are inventiones of Zia ul Haq. To Islamize Pakistan, Zia ul Haq distorted and reproduced a heavily censored Constitutional Document called Objectives Resolution. The original draft was passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1949.
The original document was more secular in nature and envisaged equal rights for all Pakistanis, however, asserting that the Final Authority of Rule is Allah and Pakistani Constitutional and Democratic Rulers will use this authority as Amanat from Allah (As there is no proper word for Amanat in English). This document was particularly distorted and it’s secular nature was changed into Islamized one.
Zia ul Haq mingled Islamic History’s censored version with International Politics and created monstrous Taliban along with Jamaat-e-Islami for Pakistan. Since Zia’s time Jamaat e Islami and other Islamists strived hard to induct Surah Tauba, Surah Ahzaab and Surah Mumtahina along with another small Surah called Al-Hashar into the syllabus.
It was during the brief stint of Nawaz Sharif in 1997 that the demand of JI and other right wing extremists were accepted and the above mentioned Surahs were included into the Curriculum. Before we land into the details of disadvantages of inclusion of these Surahs in Syllabus, I want to recall how was my experience with them. I as a student was keenly interested in Comparative Religions. I came into contact with Quran directly in 1998 when Nawaz Sharif’s Islamist reforms made Quran compulsory for all the students. When I was in 9th Class, we were taught Surah Tauba or Chapter XIV of Quran that deals with Jihad.
My first reaction was that I along with my other students are wasting our lives. Our teacher made it clear on us that Jihad is an obligation and we must stop supporting the tactics of Kafirs and take up arms and go to Afghanistan or Kashmir for Jihad. Mind you, this was no ordinary School. This was Islamabad Model College for Boys, F-8/4. Commonly known in Islamabad as IMCB F-8/4.
The most shameful aspect of the inclusion of these Surahs of Quran into the curriculum is that they are aimed at misquoting the Holy Texts and use them in Talibanization and Islamization of Pakistan. For example if we assess readily available Militant Propaganda material nearly 90% of it is concentrated to the Surahs that I mentioned above.
The Surah was added in the Syllabus and the emphasis was just on it’s translation. There was no mention of the reason and logic behind the revelation of the Surah — though it is readily available, oft-quoted and easily accessible. The main purpose was to introduce a Jihadist euphoria into Pakistani youth and to prepare youngsters for Jihad to attain strategic depth inside the neighboring countries! It is pathetic to it’s core.
The stark difference between the two snaps that I shared is obvious. One explains the reason and logic while other is just a mere translation and it was this mere translation that was being fed to the students to pollute their minds with dirty Jihadist agenda. Well, then tables turned and Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a coup by then COAS General Parvez Musharraf.
Many good things that can be attributed to Musharraf and foremost of them was the fact that Musharraf realized that these Surahs without their historical context are nothing but a ticking time bomb and providing fodder for the Jihadist and many Jaysh and Lashkars of Pakistan. He not only replaced these Surahs in curriculum with ones that are more of clear message of Islam and didn’t require much of historical context such as Surah Ibrahim and Aal-Imran.
The recently ousted PPP government more or less followed the policy of Musharraf. After 2013 Elections, Pakistan saw First ever peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected government to another. Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister of Pakistan for third time. However, so far Federal Government has done nothing to review or modify curriculum. Along with PML-N sweeping Federal Ballot and Punjab, we also got Cricketer-turned-playboy Imran Khan whose PTI swept elections in war-torn KPK mostly on anti-American rhetoric and misleading slogan of Change. PTI came to power and shook hands with Jamaat e Islami, a right wing extremist religio-political party. The leaders of PTI KPK Chapter are mostly ex-Jamatiyas (a terms used for ex members of JI).
Briefly after coming to power, CM Parvez Khattak said that he has no fight with Taliban. However, Taliban kept on bombing Pakistani cities and KPK PTI Government became official spokesperson of TTP. Heartbreaking statements such as Taliban are our brothers etc kept on coming from Shaukat Yusufzai and Imran Khan was seen in a Royal Ball arranged to protect Indian Elephants while holding a cup of a clear liquid that was obviously not water.
Recently it has been published in a local Urdu newspaper that Imran Khan has in principle agreed to reintroduce the Jihadist verses in the curriculum that were removed by General Musharraf. It is alarming and very very surprising. The readdition of these verses and Surahs of Quran without Historical context is like a political suicide. A certain Urdu Daily called Mashriq has reported the news that we are pasting right below.
Imran Khan should fear that the Elite and Burger Urban Middle Class that elected him will be first one to kick him out. This is not only sacrilegious but also a clear question mark over the intentions of Imran Khan. Does Imran Khan know what is he doing? Does he care about the drastic negative impacts of the inclusion of the Jihadist material in the syllabus? If this news is credible then Imran Khan should quit politics. Imran Khan is doing nothing but resurrecting the policies of late Zia ul Haq and his cronies in KPK to hide his political failures by playing Islam Card. This Islam Card might hide his political failure, complete breach of Manifesto and mocking of Manifesto by Parvez Khattak and other stalwarts of KPK government by not relinquishing the Party Positions after being entrusted with Ministerial duties.
Even morally I want to ask Imran Khan that has he arranged someone to teach his two Judeo-British sons Surah Tauba and others the same way he wants them to be taught to our Pakistani Youth? This is indeed double standard and outward manifestation of hypocrisy and contempt of common Pakistani Mind. Imran Khan, if he actually agreed, to introduce these Surahs into the curricula, then he should tell the disgruntled voters that what is his real agenda? This is high time to compare the victory of PTI with Islamic Brotherhood of Egypt. Islamic Brotherhood swept the local elections with the empty slogan of Change. However, they didn’t keep their promise and started the sectarianism and radicalization of previously peaceful and quiet communities. This lead to massive protests against the Islamist regimes in Egypt and ouster of Islamic Brotherhood oft-dubbed heroic President Muhammad Morsi and direct involvement of Army with ample support of Egyptian diverse political sky.
Imran Khan should be afraid of this kind of the backlash. Like me there are so many other disgruntled voters of PTI who are now rising against the Talibanization and pro-Militant and Terror-Apologetic agenda of PTI. Many moderate PTI freelancers called Insaaf Tabdeeli Razakaar have spoken on blogs and facebook communities about the not-fulfilled promises of Imran Khan. They have also questioned about the role of KPK CM and Information Minister and their vociferous defense of Taliban and reasoning and logic behind blaming every mishap in KPK on Drones. I am sure like Egypt the moderate PTI voter concentrated in Posh areas of Urban centers (excluding KPK) will rise and Imran Khan will have nothing to hide. However, as a voter and will-wisher, I sincerely advise Imran Khan to reconsider his stance on terrorism and denotify his decision to re-include the Jihadist material into the curriculum of KPK. This is expected from JI as it was it’s manifesto and JI was pretty clear on it. Is Imran Khan aware that the billions of Rupees from Public treasury are bound to be wasted into infusing the Spirit of Jihad and this readdition of Jihadist fodder in curriculum is just a Final Leap of Faith of Imran Khan to accept Talibanization of Pakistan. History will never forgive Imran Khan! PTI FAILED US! Shame!