Education in Northern Pakistan

PictureBook Review: Education for Development in Northern Pakistan This book ‘Education for Development in Northern Pakistan’ is based upon an extensive research conducted on the educational system of Pakistan with particular focus on its northern areas. It discuses the different factors responsible for motivating the people of northern areas to take interest in modern education. It also makes a case study of few villages of Gilgit-Baltistan including Eidgah, Shigar and Singal and analyses the rising trend of education in remote areas of Northern Pakistan. Other than the introduction and conclusion the book consists of seven parts. First part is composed of theoretical perspectives on education and development, which involves discussion on the development theories, economics of education and human capital approach, sociology of education, and a dialectical perspective on education for development. Second and third parts relate to the research design, making a conceptual framing of research, besides introducing the case study and discussing the research methodology. Part four is the education system in Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, which debates upon the challenges of education in Pakistan, rise of non-elitist private schools along with a short history of educational expansion in Gilgit-Baltistan. Fifth part makes a more focused study of the existing state of education in Gilgit-Baltistan with its historical connection. Part six is the livelihood strategies on education, which sheds light on the rationales and motives for educational behaviour, gender education rationales, school preferences by the parents, etc. Last part before the conclusion is educational outcomes, which focuses the points like female education and empowerment, labour migration and political participation, etc. The book overall sheds light on the educational system of Pakistan, which has been inherited from the British colonial system in Sub-Continent. After the independence, Pakistan continued with the same educational structure as deserted by British. Despite a dire need of drawing changes in the said system for essentially igniting the minds of the young generation of Pakistan, it could never gain a priority with the policy makers. It is advocated that in colonial times, the British used education as a strategic tool to install a system of indirect rule and to create a ‘class of persons, Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, morals and intellect. This new class served the British as loyal, westernized, English-speaking, local bureaucratic and technocratic elite. The author at one point of the book also asserts that the same system that served the British to maintain their authority over the Indians was continued by the Pakistani rulers after the independence, as it was equally suitable for them to control the masses. The present situation is that Pakistan in comparison with its economic growth lags much behind in its progress in educational sector. According to the author of the book the educational development of any country is generally proportionate with its economic development which is possible only if the education is given a due importance in this regard. The lack of balance between the two in Pakistan reveals that education has not been a priority for any government which has been in power in Pakistan. Education has always been politicized and charged with political objectives in Pakistan, therefore, it could never achieve the purpose it ought have to achieved. Despite the bleak situation faced by many of the regions in Pakistan, the heartening fact is that Gilgit-Baltistan is growing fast in educational sector. People have understood the importance of modern education and have made efforts in this regard on their own, resulting into the rise of educational standards in the region. There have been different measures taken by them to make the said possible but amazingly it is all due to their self- consciousness and awareness about the need of modern education.

Role of Spy Agencies

Rana Rizwan HussainBook Review of the Novel Kogon Plan by Naeem Baig

Rana Rizwan Hussain

Kogon Plan is a thrilling novel which furnishes the idea of conduct of secret operations by the spy agencies. It is a fiction but gives an image of being a reality based story. It shows that how bravely and professionally the soldiers maneuver their activities when they are on secret missions. Their job involves most of the time a great deal of threat and risk to their life but they render it with devotion and patriotism. Operating against terrorist organisations is even a bigger peril which the spy agents have to undertake for the safety of their country. The plot of the Novel Kogon Plan is post 9/11 era, when Pakistan was hit by a wave of terrorism for its joining hands with America in its war on terror. Pakistan’s secret agent Sahel Farhaj who belongs to National Security Bureau chases a notorious terrorist Ramzak Bilal to seize him. He works with his team and each member of it has been exposed to be prepared to undertake every risk to get hold of that notorious and dangerous terrorist. Ramzak Bilal is shown to be a clever guy who gets out of every trap which is set for him by the spy agency. He keeps sneaking out of the hands of the agents despite their collective effort to get hold of him. The mission to capture him has been named as dark room operation. Even after a long pursuit of the wanted terrorist the operation fails and Ramzak Bilal escapes from the hands of the spy agents. The novel also shows the life style which the spy agents are forced to pass. They have been shown to have no choice in their life but to pull on with it the way they get it. Sahel Farhaj gets injured during the operation and is brought back to Pakistan in the same position. Once brought back he is admitted in a military hospital where he falls in love with a nurse. Sahel marries that nurse and in this way the novel contains a typical touch of a love story into it. The book creates a twist when the role shifts. The members of spy agency who were earlier spying Ramzak Bilal then get under his monitoring and one by one start becoming his victims. This aspect of the book reveals that the terrorist organisations operate in a very well organised manner and they have their connections all over the world and operate through a wide network. Sahel Farhaj once again tries to chase his prey but he has not been shown to be successful in his efforts till end.

Overall it’s a thrilling novel which can catch the interest of the reader quickly to know about the outcome of the story. Although the novel resolves all the mysteries involved but it ends with a big suspense for the reader, where Ramzak Bilal and Sahel Farhaj are shown to have come across each other and indulge into a physical combat. The unfinished story of the novel puts the reader into a curiosity to know about its end and one can expect the second part of the novel to come on scene soon. http://splus.nation.com.pk/ePaper/lahore/2014-11-25/page-56

Professional Challenges to Journalists in Pakistan

Book Review: Media Safety in Pakistan by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) Picture The book ‘Media Safety in Pakistan’ discusses the different types of threats and difficulties faced by the journalists for making a fair reporting. It brings into discussion the nature, intensity, variety and level of threats advanced to the journalists and the manner in which they are exposed to those threats. It describes the role of securtiy agencies, media houses and the journalist unions in providing protection to them for performing their job and continuing with the profession. The study of the book reveals that the journalism is one of the most unsafe professions in Pakistan and the quarters which pose threats to journalists include militant religious outfits, sepratist groups, intelligence agencies, ethnic political parties, mainstream political parties, criminal gangs, tribal elders and feudal lords. The main reasons of enmity of these groups with the journalists are either to report against them or to not to report according to their will. The excellence of this book is that it sheds light on all those different type of threats which vary with the ground realities in every province of Pakistan and develops a better understanding of the issues and the ways to overcome those. Balochistan is said to be the worst affected province of Pakistan in terms of safety of journalists. The journalists in Balochistan face a lot of pressure, attacks, abductions and even murders at the hands of Baloch separatist insurgents, Islamist militants and tribal chieftans. Khuzdar district is known to be the most dangerous place for the journalists to report. Many journalists in Khuzdar, Kalat, Kech, Gawadar and Panjgur have been killed and subjected to atrocities for performing their job in those areas. An international non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of press has listed Baloch separatist groups among the ‘press freedom predators’ in Balochistan. The history of violence against journalists in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhua goes back to 2003 and since then 24 journalists have been killed on account of their work. Now, killing, kidnapping and intimidation of journalists have almost become the norm in FATA and KP. The main reasons of victimization of journalists are that the terrorists want to rationalize their actions and they want media to publicize their viewpoint to the world. When media fails to act according to their bid, they issue threats and victimize the journalists and their families. As a result the journalists either have to relocate themselves or they keep running with the risks and try to perform their job as safely as possible. However, the main recourse for the journalists is generally to stop reporting on those issues in which powerful actors are involved. The nature of threats posed to the journalists in interior Sindh and the urban parts of Sindh is altogether different. In interior Sindh journalists largely feel threatened while covering violent clashes between tribes, particularly on issues relating to honour killing and religious practices. Unlike that the journalists in Karachi feel insecure in the hands of Taliban militants, thugs of the political parties, criminal gangs and mainly by sectarian groups. Karachi is ethnically divided into many sects ranging from language to religion and each sect maintains its militant group for fighting against the other. Journalists there become a victim when they either report against any group or when reporting in favour of the other offends any particular group. Punjab and Islamabad are considered to be comparatively less dangerous areas for journalists. However, the threats faced by journalists in these areas are of different type. Aamir Hashim Khakwani, a Lahore based columnist points out that the corporate pressure is a major threat to media overall in Pakistan where advertisement revenue is used as carrot and stick. He further states that the Punjab government is used to threaten media houses to publish or broadcast favourable news. In 1990 they also gave a list of journalists to Jang group to sack them. The book also speaks about the role of media houses and journalist unions which have always failed to provide protection to the journalists associated to them as well as the freelancers. The journalist unions have divided into fractions and the media houses are more concerned with their infrastructure which is used during the reporting and less with the journalists. The law enforcement agencies have completely failed to provide protection to the journalists as well as to arrest and investigate those who are involved into the victimization of the journalists. This failure of law enforcing agencies has further given rise to the impunity. It is a mind blowing piece of research by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) relating to the threats and insecurity faced by the journalists in Pakistan and promotes a much better understanding of the core issues. It can prove to be of great help if used for devising policies to provide protection to the journalists, keeping in view the ground realities. Writer is a practicing lawyer based in Lahore. Book Review was first published in a weekly magazine Sunday Plus and can be accessed at http://splus.nation.com.pk/E-Paper/Lahore/2014-11-09/page-59

Month of Muharram

ranarizwanhussain

PictureMuharram and Greetings of the New Year

Rana Rizwan Hussain

Wishing happiness to others is a great gesture but observation of appropriate time for it is also pertinent. Everybody likes the greetings of happiness but with the exception of those moments when someone may not be willing to hear those. Everyone can think of his/her own circumstances in which he/she may not like to be greeted with happiness. For instance, if someone is standing at the funereal of his beloved wife and the person standing next to him wishes him the greetings of his wedding anniversary, the greetings may not be appreciated much by the recipient.

New Year according to the Christian Calendar starts from January and it is well celebrated in many parts of the world. If someone picks up to ask a question from those celebrating the New Year that what is so special which has occurred with the…

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Indonesia-Pakistan Relations

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Book Review – Indonesia Pakistan Saga of Trusted Friendship in Changing East Asia by Sanaullah

The book ‘Indonesia Pakistan Saga of Trusted Friendship in Changing East Asia’ precisely outlines the Indonesia-Pakistan relations which have passed through different phases since the independence of both the countries. It further tracks back to the pre-independence period when both the nations i.e., Indian and Indonesian Muslims supported each other in their respective cause of independence from their colonial masters. The Indian Muslim soldiers went a step ahead and fought the battle for Indonesia against Dutch armies and also refused to obey the command of their British masters, when they were deployed against Indonesian freedom fighters. This particular aspect connected both the nations in a strong bond even before their emerging as independent states on the map of the world. The efforts of Indian Muslims in achieving a separate Muslim state became successful before those of Indonesian Muslims and after its independence Pakistan played a vital role in support of Indonesian Muslims by sending troops to Indonesia and also by blocking the Dutch airline in Pakistan which was a means to supply arms to Dutch armies in Indonesia. A large number of Pakistani Muslim soldiers died in the war with Netherlands in Indonesia and those who survived preferred to stay there and passed rest of their life in Indonesia. The book reveals that the ties between both the countries are historical and cannot be overlooked in the formulation of foreign policy towards each other. The book chalks out the ups and down of relationship between the two countries and also highlights the need and importance of strong ties between the two. Indonesia got independent on 27 December 1949 and Mr. Sukarno who also led the independence movement of Indonesia became its first President. President Sukarno in acknowledgment of Pakistani support to Indonesia developed a very friendly relation with Pakistan and both the countries enjoyed brotherly connections with each other. In the initial years after independence the leadership on both sides made efforts to strengthen the trade and industrial co-operation with each other and in 1960 President Ayub Khan and President Sukarno also signed an agreement to send Indonesian students nto Pakistani universities for education. Both the countries also agreed to establish direct shipping services and indentified items for export and import from each other. In the 1967-1968 agreements were signed to promote co-operation between radio and television corporations and news agencies. Pakistan as a gesture of respect dedicated some streets and roads in its different cities to President Sukarno. Sukarno tenure which continued till 1967 is considered to be the golden period in perspective of Indonesia-Pakistan relations in which heads of states of both the countries gave several visits to each other and explored new dimensions of relationship. With the change of leadership in Indonesia in 1967 when President Suharto took over, the Indonesia-Pakistan relations took a new turn. However, there appeared no alarming change in the bilateral relations between the two states; however, Indonesia started showing its slight inclination towards India. In the same course when Pakistan faced the 1971 war with India, Indonesia preferred to take a non-partisan position into it and showed no support to Pakistan. While in the 1965 war of Pakistan, Indonesia provided full support to Pakistan. In 1972 Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Indonesia which helped to build confidence between the two countries again. The book points out that after the Sukarno period Indonesia -Pakistan could never enjoy the same status of relationship again despite several attempts made by the Pakistani leadership. Those efforts resulted into the temporary outcomes but could not win a long standing confidence. The President Musharaf’s era is considered to be one of those periods in which the bonds were strengthened and the business relations between the countries were developed but it could not help Pakistan get ASEAN membership which Pakistan always tried to secure through Indonesian channel for its bearing an influential position amongst ASEAN countries. All through the period, Pakistani embassy in Indonesia has been making its exclusive efforts to improve the image of Pakistan in Indonesia by arranging cultural festivals and programs. The author emphasizes that the present Pakistani government should also endeavor and take suitable measures to strengthen the ties with Indonesia and use its position to seek access to the ASEAN countries which can bring a drastic change in the trade activity of Pakistan resulting into the economic betterment of the country. He stresses that the personal attention of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can prove to be of significant importance in this regard.

Writer is a practicing lawyer based in Lahore.

This book review was first published in Sunday Plus and can be accessed at the following URL

http://splus.nation.com.pk/E-Paper/Lahore/2014-08-03/page-60

Alexander the Macedonian

Rana Rizwan Hussain

Alexander conquered half of the world despite the fact his soldiers were no longer pleased with him. Till his last battle he faced many rebellions in his own army. What made him so ambitious to move ahead without caring the morale of his own army?

According to few his desire to rule over the world lead him to wage wars. Others say that Alexander had no desire to rule over the world as after every victory he transferred the power to its natives and did not appoint anyone out of his own army as Governor.

What was that which motivated him to go on and on, if he didn’t desire to rule?

Alexander had a mission. A mission to release himself from his own fears. After being free from one fear he faced another. He always lodged war to release himself from his own fears. In order to ensure his freedom from fears he kept opting wars after wars.

For ordinary thinkers Alexander fought with men in battle but for profound thinkers he fought with his own fears lying in his mind. Alexander was not great because he conquered the world but because he became victorious over his fears.