BY: KARIM MOHAMMAD KHAN
Recently an important document named as Piagham-e-Pakistan compiled by the International Islamic University Islamabad and was signed by more than eighteen hundred religious scholars under the supervision of the government to develop counter narratives against terrorism, suicide attacks and waging arm struggle against the state.
It was indeed a good step towards peace and harmony in the country. However, relying merely on signing documents can not cure all trial and tribulation such as extremism, terrorism, corruption, child abuse, adultery and other street crimes as these vicious and notorious actions have rooted in the attitudes of some black sheep and insipid individuals in our society. For instance, Child abduction, abuse and murder are reflecting the degradation and decaying morality as a nation and apart from terrorism such recurring scandalous incidents not only shocking the nation but also projects the ugly face of the country to the outside world.
The reasons behind indulging in anti-state and anti social activities are directly and indirectly associated with illiteracy, ignorance and lack of employment opportunities in the country as the rulers, religious figures, teachers and parents are accountable of not exercising their vital roles since independence till today.
Further, the existing education system and curriculum are class-based as the elite class sends their siblings to English medium schools with Cambridge and Oxford curriculum; the majority poor masses are bound to enroll their kids in state-run schools with Urdu medium curriculum while the ultra poor and orphan children are admitted in madrassah system.
Consequently these diverse systems of education are producing citizens of poles apart with disrespect and intolerance for its rival sect, race, caste, ethnicity and ideologies. And even some hard core extremists and terrorists go rampant by killing innocent people and destroying properties as we are experiencing for the last many decades.
Nevertheless, to curb the nuisance of terrorism and other communal evils from the society requires establishing a sound unified education system with a joined curriculum under the umbrella of ministry of education and that should not only address the modern scientific and technological necessities of the country, but also preserve and protect our unique cultures, values and the golden principles of Islam inherited from the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
In this regard, abiding by its constitutional obligation mentioned in the article 25-A in which the government is bound to provide free education from five to sixteen years of age. Along with academics, technical, vocational and professional training institutes must be established across the country in order to increase job opportunities for the people. Therefore, education emergency must be declared across the country and augment its budget up to 5 percent with strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place.
In addition, curriculum and textbooks should also be scrutinized and updated properly in order to remove hate and biased materials from them and incorporate contents and activities that stimulate and develop not only creative, critical and problem solving skills but should also inspire a sense of respect, brotherhood, humanity, honesty, justice, sympathy, empathy and tolerance among students.
Finally, media i.e print, electronic and social can also exercise their positive influence in educating the masses to curtail all types of crimes and build morality, promoting veneration and tolerance in a culture of diversity and pluralistic society.
Aside from teachers, influential religious, political, and social personalities can emphasize to respect each other’s faiths and cultures by conveying messages in gatherings and programmes as well. Last but not least, violation of law of the land committed by any individual, group or sects must be dealt with iron hand by the state and its organs irrespective of caste, creed and colour.