Before we take up the issue of the ethical aspect of education in Pakistan a look at its legal and constitutional status itself would be in order. I shall focus on school education as it is this sector that has a pronounced human rights and ethical aspect. In 2010, the National Assembly amended the Constitution of 1973 that made education mandatory for all children. Article 25-A was adopted and according to this, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.”
This provision should have been a landmark step towards universalizing education which is worldwide regarded as the fundamental right of all men, women and children. It naturally has to begin from childhood. It seems unbelievable that it took Pakistan 63 years to recognize this basic fact.
But Article 25-A has failed to achieve its purpose. The enrolment ratio of school age children is barely 60 percent and over 22 million children aged 5-16 years are still believed to be out of school. The resultant inequity geographical, gender and class – has demonstrated clearly that in Pakistan education is not the equalizer it should be. If anything, it is a factor that promotes inequality.
The pandemic, the anxiety and fear of the unknown, economic downturn—national and global, lockdowns–total, partial and smart—and social distancing had worn us out by the end of September. What did provide some relief to me and my daughter, the city-dwellers, was a little refuge in nature, a reclaiming of the bond with the sky, the plants (potted) of many hues and smells, and the little flora and fauna left in Karachi.
After four nights of stay in upper Hunza, we came down to a resort in central Hunza. Central Hunza, the administrative region of the valley with capital Karimabad, is famous for Baltit and Altit Forts and the ancient settlement Ganish.
ON Dec 9, which is designated as International Anti-Corruption Day by the United Nations, newspapers carried a prominent Sindh government advertisement titled ‘Let’s Eradicate Corruption’. It would have convinced few but it did amuse many. The ad claimed that action was being taken against corruption.
The ad admitted that corruption was against the interest of the nation and that bribery was punishable under the law. However, it made a tall demand by stating, “If you have encountered corruption, report immediately.”
Would one want to do that? I still think of my friend Perween Rahman, the head of the OPP, who was shot dead in March 2013, and how she was facilitating the regularisation of goths on the fringe of the city. In normal times too, ordinary citizens feel unprotected. Till today, we do not know who ordered the killers to pull the trigger to eliminate this dedicated social worker.
It is seemingly a brilliant idea to ask the public to report a crime even if it is as minor as a clerk demanding a bribe to move a file. Will the file actually inch forward when the accused is taken to task? As for big crimes, only a fool would hope for state protection if he dares to report it.
FOR 20 years, the US State Department has been annually documenting the efforts — or the lack thereof — of governments to check trafficking in persons (TIP) that has become a massive crime worldwide over the years. The major success it has achieved so far is in creating public awareness about this abominable issue. In some cases, it has managed to get governments to legislate on the matter in a bid to check the prevalence of the crime.
The TIP situation in Pakistan is horrifying for two reasons. First is its extraordinary rise in the two categories covered by the US report, namely, kidnapping for bonded labour and for trading girls in prostitution.