Lahore: September 11, 2009. (PCP report) Professor Anjum James Paul, Chairman, Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) flays Education Policy 2009
approved by the Prime Minister and his cabinet on September 9, 2009. It is so shameful that Mr. Clement Shahbaz Bhatti , Federal Minister of Minorities’ Affairs did not courage to raise his voice or protested while this biased and discriminatory education policy was being approved as a representative of minorities. This policy is a clear cut sign of social, educational and religious assassination of minorities. The oppressed and suppressed students of minorities will be forcibly taught Islamic teachings in the social and physical sciences as well. There are 57.47 % teachings of Islam only in the subject of Urdu language which is a compulsory subject from grade I-XII .These textbooks have been published by Punjab Textbook Board Lahore. Ministry of Education, government of Pakistan is playing the role cleric as it preaches Islam to all the students whether one is Muslim or not.
PMTA declares this education policy ‘Islamic Education Policy’ as chapter four of this policy is on “Islamic Education”. This education policy violates article 22 (1) of the Constitution which describes “No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own” .This policy even violates article 25 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 which describes” All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.” This policy even violates Article 1 and 26 of UDHR, Article 18, 26 and 27 of ICCPR, Article 2 and 14 of ICRC and the UNESCO recommendations.
This policy violates the speech of the Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that he presented in the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11,1947 “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State………Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. “
PMTA has been struggling for a valued based, unbiased and non-discriminatory curriculum and education policy when it started working , wrote letter to Mr. Pervez Mushraff, the then President of Pakistan No. pmta/115/6 on May 02, 2006 on the subject: “Representation of educationists from the religious minorities in the curriculum committee constituted to revise syllabus 2006” Copies of this letter were mailed to ,Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Minister of Education, State Minister of Minorities Affairs, Federal Secretary of Education, and Members of the Parliament (Minorities) of Pakistan.
The last letter was mailed to Federal Minister for Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, No.16-pmta/09, dated March 06, 2009 on the subject “Reservations on National Education Policy 2009.” Copies of this letter were mailed to the President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs and Federal Secretary Education.
PMTA received twelve letters from different corners of the government of Pakistan. In a letter No.F 3-17/2007-IE on September 19, 2007 informing PMTA that the curriculum for Islmaiyat compulsory (for Muslim students) and Ethics for non-Muslim students have been approved and notified. It further says that there are no biases in future books. I conclude my words with this sentence that in the presence of chapter four of the education policy on “Islamic Education”. How can one justify that this is not a biased and discriminatory education policy that gives priority to the teachings of a single majority religion while Pakistan is a multi religious country?