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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Crimes of Ego: Have Pakistani parents declared a war against teachers?

Rizwan Tanveer, the principal of a school at Badami Bagh in Lahore, was thrashed and killed by a student’s parents on March 21. From the investigation carried out so far, the parents can only argue that the boy, Bilal, was “scolded” by the principal for not taking his studies seriously. It seems that the parents killed him for scolding their child.

Tanveer’s brother-in-law, Nadeem, has filed a FIR against the parents of the child as their actions cannot, in any manner, be justified. According to the prosecutor, Rashid, Sultan, and two others were involved in the ruthless killing. He explained that the suspects arrived at school on Monday and started beating the principal and his wife without even allowing them a chance to plead guilty. The two were rushed to the hospital where Tanveer breathed his last due to severe injuries while his wife is still fighting for her life.

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The police have taken all forensic evidence into custody for further investigation of the case and the body is also present with the department to complete other legal formalities.

Teachers are a source of guidance for the young minds and in a country. But where law and order do not have a strong foothold, this disrespect of teachers or others that do not have power, by those that are rich and powerful is not unexpected. The government of Pakistan has given thought to the creation of schools and universities but it has failed to roll out the importance a teacher holds, irrespective of his or her income level or status. What essence of education is being discovered if the basic premise of respect is not understood. The learners, students, often forget that respect of the other is the first lesson they are taught.

There is no law protecting the rights of the teachers and the occupation itself is taken as a way to only earn an income. Its low wages attracts those that cannot find better jobs for themselves. Amazingly, the lawmakers of the country are either involved in incidents like this themselves or have simply chosen to ignore what is happening around them. In a similar event in Karachi, another principal (a female) was also beaten for she had reported the unusual disappearances of Syeda Saman, a first-year pre-medical student.

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According to Saman’s parents, she was dropped at her school, Government Degree Girls College, North Nazimabad at 9 am. However, the school authorities claim she had not entered the premises until 11 am, the time for her preliminary exam. Given the fact that she was late, the school guards did not allow her to enter the college premises and redirected her to the principal, Ghazala Zareen’s office.

“When Saman returned at 11 am, officials did not allow her to appear for her exam and directed her to see me. On seeing Saman’s previous attendance record, I called her parents to ask why their daughter was not able to reach in time for the scheduled paper.” – Principal of the college, Ghazala Zareen

Saman’s elder sister and mother were in a conversation with Zareen when they started yelling at the principal and beat her up with the help of their four guards. SP Ejaz Hashmi is the “proud” father of Saman who has given the right to his daughters and wife of using the state’s power to their own benefit.

SP Ejaz Hashmi explained in his own words that the principal was biased against his daughter. “The principal had personal grudges against my daughter because I complained to the regional director about her [the principal] asking for a bribe to let my daughter clear the practical exams.” He further accused Zareen of misbehaving with his wife and snatching Saman’s mobile phone.

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This Has Happened Before

This is not the first time that a superior has been mistreated for performing his or her duties to the best of their abilities. There are, now, countless such events reported in which a school teacher or principal is treated disrespectfully. Children are sent to the school for they have to be taught what is right and wrong and if the parents are against the former doing their job in the right manner, then the country can never prosper.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.” – Temple Grandin.

Last year, Professor Rao Altaf Hussain, a teacher at Government College of Science, was shot dead by unknown attackers while he was returning home after dropping his son off. In the year 2015, Prof. Waheedur Rehman of Mass Communication Department, Karachi University, had also met eternity due to a target killing incident. Going back to 2014, Dean of Islamic Studies at Karachi University, Prof. Shakeel Auj, was killed in Gulshan Iqbal area in Karachi.

Will Someone Take Any Action?

The only ray of hope that a country has in its law and order departments. In the recent Karachi incident, only two people took any notice of the event. These included Zameer Khoso, Regional Director for Colleges, and Gulberg SP, Basheer Ahmed. Apart from that, all senior authorities who could have taken the matter in their hands have stayed absolutely quiet.

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Khoso commented later that such behavior with the teachers will not be tolerated and the guilty will pay the cost of their doings.

“Officer Hashmi’s wife and daughter hit the principal. Hashmi himself didn’t do it but this is equally condemnable.” – Zameer Khoso.

As mentioned above, there have been repeated incidents where educators of the state have been assassinated or beaten to death. What is regretful is the fact that lawmakers themselves are involved in such cases. The illegal use of power has blinded even the highest of all authorities in Pakistan and SP Ejaz Hashmi is the nemesis of what is happening around the country.

These are only cases which the media has brought to attention. One can only wonder how many teachers are maltreated every day. How many more of such incidents will have to be highlighted before the legislators of the country pay attention.