CITY NOTES: How not to teach | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: How not to teach

I’m not trying to work against a South Punjab province, merely point out that the murder of Professor Shahid Hamid should not be seen as evidence that the educational institutions there are more prone to violence. I mean, the last time a college teacher got killed by a student was in a private college in Shabqadar, Charsadda district, which is not in South Punjab.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar does belong to South Punjab, though not to the area where this murder took place. And the administration which put a former VC in handcuffs, and had a professor die in custody did not belong to South Punjab, showing that all students were trying in KP and South Punjab was a bit of catch-up.

A long time ago, longer ago than I would like to admit, my own English teacher was Professor Shahid Hameed, whom I remember as a gentleman who taught me something. Not all that much, because I was a young know-it-all, but I still remember him once wishing that newspapers would refer to taxpayer’s money when talking about government spending. I have done this as a newshound, because of his lesson. I’m sure there must have been more useful stuff he taught me, for I’ve spent my working life writing in his subject, but now I must say that I’m on the side of the victim for no better reason than he shared a surname and a subject with an old teacher of mine.

The problem of teachers being offed by students is not a problem on US campuses. But high school students do have a tendency to shoot down other students. Of course, the gun lobby has made sure that the guns are available for this. Instead, US academia has been struck by a college admissions scandal, with 50 parents being charged by the FBI for corruption in college entrance exams, and in sports admissions. It seems that if you pay enough money, you’re in. So now we know how Trump got into an Ivy League school. And it’s nice to know that Americans make the same use of sports admissions as we do. And make us wonder about Imran Khan’s admission to Oxford.

But anyhow, I’m not sure that this sort of direct action is called for. I know, teachers can be a pest.

But that does not justify stabbing them. Sure, for every teacher one remembers with awe, reverence and even affection, there are many others for whom stabbing would seem too good a fate. But perhaps we need to remember that while great teachers are such because they are first good human beings, many teachers are not. And learning to forgive this is essential to getting on with life.

But from teachers, one goes to students. The decision in the murder of Mashal Khan, the Bacha Khan University student who was killed for blasphemy, came, and a PTI councillor was among those convicted. Someone probably didn’t explain to him that there had to be someone alive to see tabdeeli.

As a matter of fact, the judge in the Samjhauta Express burning case also gave a decision, in which he acquitted all four accused of the 2007 bombing which claimed 44 victims, including Swami Aseemanand who had confessed. I would suspect that the accused had duly contacted the judge’s reader, and made sure that the judge was acquainted with their case. Imran is probably angered by the court not having convicted Mian Nawaz Sharif of being responsible.

One person who might be happy with a court decision, apart from Swami Aseemanand of course, would be Malik Riaz, whose Bahria Town scheme in Karachi was regularised because was he ready to pay Rs 560 billion to escape the clutches of NAB. Wow! I’m reminded of the fellow who responded to being told he owed the bank £50, “If you owe £50,000 you’re a company if you owe £ 50 million you’re a government. I’m on my way!”

It seems Malik Riaz is too. Look, anyone ready to pay Rs 560 billion must expect trillions in income.

More important, the Supreme Court, a body that routinely borders on the side of caution, must believe he can earn that much. The Government of Pakistan doesn’t make that much, not according to the latest FBR figures. Maybe Imran Khan should ask Malik Riaz to join his Cabinet. It would be nice to have a minister who could make up budgetary shortfalls out of the small change in his pocket.

But rather than thinking about how to get Malik Riaz on his side, Imran is probably thinking about how to get the blame for the attack on Maulana Taqi Usmani shifted to Mian Nawaz. There is also the additional attraction of a sectarian angle because Maulana Usmani is a Deobandi, and Mian Nawaz Brelvi. Mian Nawaz being in jail in Lahore and Maulana Usmani in Karachi is just a matter of detail.

Perhaps just as much detail as the Christchurch massacre, where bodies have arrived in the country of people who had gone abroad for a bright future. The New Zealand government has banned assault weapons. Wonder what Imran or Punjab CM Usman Buzdar will ban, after the Gujranwala school collapse, which killed four?

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