Thursday, July 19, 2012

“Qirat and minorities teachers” letter published in the Daily Frontier Post on July 13, 2009

Prof Anjum James Paul Peshawar

The Government of Punjab has declared one month compulsory training for the newly-recruited educators who will receive training in the subjects of Science, Mathematics, English, Urdu, Computer, PT and Qirat (recitation of the holy Quran).Master trainers have already been trained who will engage 45 minutes periods daily in each subject. Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association (PMTA) has grave concerns in this regard as there has been discrimination with the educators belonging to the minorities who have been forced to receive training of Qirat. This is a clear cut sign that either there will be training of only Muslim educators or the educators belonging from the minorities will have to preach Islam in the educational institutions of Punjab. This compulsory period of Qirat for all the educators can be harmful for the minorities' educators as they study their own faith. Qirat can harm the communal harmony and minorities' educators can be easily caught in section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code which can even take their lives. The teachers from the minorities have already suffered due to this section. So, PMTA again demands that there must be compulsory training for the minorities' educators according to their faiths as there are students from the minorities as well who receive education in the public schools. In this way there will not be violation of article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights providing equal rights to all people irrespective of religion or gender.

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