The curious case of KP text books

Recently, some ‘objectionable’ text has been omitted from the curriculum of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the Provincial Government , succumbing to pressure of their major alliance, Jamaat-i-Islami.

Four chapters on Holy Prophet and his wives have been omitted from one of the text books, to replace them with some new chapters, namely one on Raja Ranjeet Singh and others. Some concepts like Christmas cake and the Holy Cross were introduced to kids at different places.

20% of this countries’ population consist of various minority groups. However, our text books seem to cater to the needs of Muslim students mostly. Despite a sizable population of minorities, majority of our students are not acquainted with understanding of religious rights and norms of minorities. In most of the schools, non-Muslim students have to study compulsory subject of ‘Islamiyat.’ No wonder, why are we witnessing a drastic increase in religious violence, mob attacks on minorities and forced conversions of non-Muslims. Polemic arguments with non-Muslims are common practices, at most of the workplaces and education institutions. 

With a compulsory subject of Islamiyat, can’t we not use the space in other text books to introduce some non-Muslim heroes? Or get our children acquainted with some non-Muslim practices? So that our next generation doesn’t look their non-Muslim Pakistani brothers with contempt, and are able to respect them as any citizen of Pakistan should be respected - with equal rights to practice their religious norms and take pride in them.

The second thing, that I found quite shocking, was the omission of pictures of minor girls without head scarves from text books. Do we need to remind these maulvis that head scarves are not compulsory in Islam for minor girls? Which version of Islam are they following really? For they seem more to resonate with centuries’ old ‘pashtoonwali’ and conservatism of FATA region, instead of religion. 

How can a political party, that doesn’t even enjoy the full mandate of Pashtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, enforce their self righteous, conservative traditions on the other less conservative sections of society?

2245 hours
Saturday 27 September

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