By Mustafa Kamal
It was 2005, when Kashmir was devastated by high magnitude of earthquake. The devastation caused needed a collective response. As a result of foreign aids to rehabilitate the area, many NGOs were set up. Some wrapped up after their specific goals were achieved, while many others are still functioning for poor communities in Pakistan.
Mountain Institute for Educational Development (MIED) was a creation of the same days. A dormant NGO endeavored fully to sustain itself under the supervision of its visionary and dynamic Managing Director Abdul Jahan. The activities of MIED were later broadened to other areas of Pakistan like Chakwal, Mansehra and Gilgit Baltistan.
The programme has been able to promote a sustainable public private partnership and social mobilization. An evaluation report of MIED Chakwal by a student of National Defence University found it to be a real blessing for rural communities.
MIED underwent severe criticism in Gilgit Baltistan recently. The Education Minister of Pseudo-province of GB ordered to close the project without any prior notice. Many rumors are aired. Some internal sources consider it to be a political move and others are relating it to kickbacks not paid to Ministry of Education by the Institute. Whatsoever the causes of hawkish ministerial orders of banning the programme might be, let’s analyze the repercussions of closing the project.
The first and foremost important setback would be economic. More than 2000 teachers were recruited by MIED. Closing the project has resulted into the loss of around one million Rupees. Let’s not forget the Multiplier Effect of such hefty amount in the region.
Currently Pakistan has the highest teacher student ratio in the world and the same case is true for GB. Banning the programme will further deteriorate our education system.
MIED was first NGO to operate its services in GB after the implementation of new Self Empowerment Package. The programme’s banning will create trust deficit among other INGOs/NGOs. It would be difficult to attract the donor agencies in the field of education into an area in which the education minister himself bans such initiatives instead of promoting them.
The Chief Minister recently invited many people in Skardu to promote the region and to create chances for investment; but he is in deep slumber on this issue. We may ask that on whose direction such blackish activities are being carried out in Education Ministry? Inviting philanthropist from other parts of the country is laudable, but why the CM is not taking action on this issue?
Why a son of our own soil and region is banned to promote our region? IS Gilgit Baltistan controlled by our Education Minister only? Aren’t there people to make him answerable?
Banning of MIED shows the level of interest our education minister pays to education. It really shows his mental state, his hatred for education, for light, for progress and for development. Let’s raise our voice against such hilarious job done by our Education Minister. It’s a test for every sensible, educated and visionary person of Gilgit Baltistan. Let’s condemn this Taliban minded approach of banning educational institutions by our Education Minister (He is a Doctor!!!)
The contributor studies at National Defence University, Islamabad.