Education or indoctrination in Pakistan?
<br>During partition of the Indian sub-continent, Pakistan inherited some of the best educational institutions built and established during the days of the British Raj. In Punjab province, there was King Edward Medical College which was established in Lahore in 1860, Government College Lahore in 1864, Foreman Christian college commonly referred to as FC college in Lahore in 1864, National college of Arts Lahore in 1875, College of Veterinary Animal and Sciences in Faisalabad in 1882, the Punjab University in Lahore in 1882, Agriculture College of Faisalabad in 1906, Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore in 1913 and the Engineering College in Lahore in 1921.
Similarly, the Sindh Medical School, now renamed Liaquat University of Health and Medical Sciences 1881, Dow Medical College Karachi (1945) were established in the province.
All of the above mentioned educational institutions were in the private sector and in most instances run by western missionaries who again in most cases were of English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish origin who decided to continue with their work in Pakistan after the partition.
By the 1960s the older generation of foreign teachers had either retired or passed away and were gradually being replaced by Pakistanis. However, most of the new creed of teachers belonged to the old tradition of learning and knowledge that was based on scientific reasoning and logic and a culture of free debate prevailed. Every educational institution from grade 5 to university level had a vibrant debating society.
During the 1970s abovementioned educational institutions along with those established in the private sector after the partition were nationalized by the first elected government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
On March 15, 1972, almost 400 educational institutions were nationalized, which brought to an end the era of learning and knowledge based on scientific principles of enquiry and research and ushered in an era of knowledge based on metaphysical idleness and theological wisecrack.
On September 7, 1974, the Bhutto government presented and passed a bill that declared the Ahmadi sect of Islam as heretics. A sizeable number of first generation Pakistani Christian and Ahmadi teachers who had been trained by their British professors or missionary teachers was persecuted and began to flee Pakistan.
Due to nationalization the educational institutions were now run by a corrupt and right-wing religious conservative bureaucracy.
On July 5, 1977, the chief of Pakistan Army General Muhammed Zia Ul Haq staged a coup against Bhutto and became the leader of the country.
During the 11 years of his rule, Zia transformed the education system as well as the curriculum to suit his religious demagogy regarding "purifying" the Pakistani society of the ills of western culture. It was during this period in the political history of the country that Pakistan was engulfed in the cultural hegemony of jihadi and radical Islam.
Islamic religious seminaries sprung up all over the country especially in the Punjab which were funded by Saudi Arabia and by the American CIA. Science was now subordinated to the Quran and in medical schools it was taught that embryology was explained in the Quran long before the western science discovered how a baby developed in the mother's womb. Have a wee read: "Verily we created man from a product of wet earth. Then placed him as a drop in a safe lodging. Then fashioned We the drop a clot. Then fashioned We the clot a little lump. Then fashioned We the little lump bones. Then clothed the bones with flesh and then produced it as another creation, Quran 23:12-14."
In April 2020, former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Governor of Punjab Chaudhary Mohammed Sarwar announced that he had decided to make the teachings of Quran with translation compulsory across all provincial universities. In July of the same year teaching of Quran became mandatory for all university student in Punjab.
In Punjab, when one appears for oral viva during the final exam, one is seldom asked a question related to the subject. The normal viva begin with a test in which one is asked to repeat the basic verses of the Quran or a certain passage from the holy book.
If one fails to remember the verse, then they are not considered eligible for any further questions related to the subject of your degree. "See you next time," is what one's supervisor tells and one has to make their way out of the examination hall.
Secondly, the 'Two-Nation' theory was made the foundation of social science and arts. This theory is based on the (false) doctrine of communalism that Muslims and Hindus are two antagonist social classes therefore Muslims and Hindus cannot co-exist and only after the final triumph of the Muslims over Hindus and when India is conquered by Islam will this antagonism be resolve.
Such sorry state of affairs that is much wide spread and ingrained in the system of knowledge is far beyond the scope of this article. Education in Pakistan is just but another way to devoid seekers of knowledge of the tools of dialectical enquiry and scientific method such as cause and effect. All you need to know is a few verses of Quran to pass and be awarded a degree in one's respective area of academic research.
It is the light of the above, I consider All Indian Council for Technical Education and University Grants Commission decision to discourage Indian youth form falling into a trap that is laid down in the name of education but is more seemly a dedicated process of Islamic Jihadi indoctrination seems a aright one.
(Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK.)