Teacher-student row: KMC student vows to end discrimination against women in veils

Published: December 18, 2013

Faculty member says person’s face should be visible to be easily identifiable. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: 

Following the tension sparked by an argument between a Khyber Medical College (KMC) student and a faculty member, the former demanded an end to discrimination against female students wearing a veil.

“I stand for all students who wear a veil. They should not be treated the way I was by Dr Raheem Bangash for wearing one,” said Misbah Syed about her alleged ordeal during a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday. Syed is a Canadian nationality holder currently enrolled as a first-year medical at KMC; she came to Pakistan to study medicine.

At the news conference, she accused faculty member Dr Raheem Bangash of physically assaulting her after a heated argument. The two had fought over Syed contesting college elections for the girl representative (GR) seat; Bangash had insisted that girls with visible faces also participate.

The student went on to claim she was the sole contender for the GR seat and was going to be elected unanimously. But, she alleged, Dr Bangash, a faculty member present in the classroom to oversee elections, said the person’s face should be visible as she would have to interact with teachers, the college principal, and should be easily identifiable.

Syed claimed they argued over the veil, but after she snatched Bangash’s microphone and tried to convince him about the importance of the covering, the faculty member lost his temper, slapped her and threw her out of the classroom.

“The episode lasted 25 minutes and I was crying. He slapped me and kicked me. Those who usually protect me, my brothers, were back home in Canada,” Syed said. She maintained she possessed video footage of the incident as well.

The 18-year-old said she has travelled widely, but has never been insulted in this manner.

On Friday, students affiliated with various religious parties began protesting on campus, but dispersed when K-P Minister for Information Shah Farman visited the college and ordered the formation of a committee to look into the issue.

According to some senior KMC faculty members, the committee has recorded statements of both sides and will submit its report in a day or two. Dr Bangash has been suspended and his entry into the college has been banned by KMC and Khyber College for Dentistry Chief Executive Inayat Shah Roghani.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.

Reader Comments (47)

  • Murad Malik
    Dec 18, 2013 - 9:46AM

    so it begins, these extremists should not be allowed to get away or else they will create more havoc. She wants to cover her head, fine, but veil is totally NOT a compulsion at all. These people should have some common sense, but if a medical student is acting like this, then it shows how extremist mentality can cloud an educated mind as well. But then again, these medical students and young doctors have created whole new levels of stupidities and insensitivity in our beloved Country. They dont deserve my tax-money to become doctors and then make a mockery out of our health system.

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  • Niazi
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:10AM

    @Murad Malik Who one earth are you to decide that what is compulson or what not. It is her decision. Instead of condemning nonsensical step by the teacher you are going after the student, ideology and soceity. Go! sis Go!. You have every right to do whatever you want.

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  • Mubeen
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:14AM

    if she wants to cover her head and wear a veil, she can. nobody can stop her! that’s her right.

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  • Hamza
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:26AM

    Mr. Murad Malik

    Everyone has freedom of whatever the way they want to present themselves. In our society and culture, if wearing a veil or scarf is not a compulsion for women, so should it not be compulsary not to wear it. Mind it, whenever a case arises in which someone makes it compulsary to wear veil / scarf, you will be the first one shouting against it. So why are you making discrimination now? Make yourself a balanced mind, Live and Let Live!

    Regards

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  • Iftikhar Khan
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:28AM

    She was misbehaving…and snatched microphone and left the hall…Dr Kamran went out to get microphone but she refused…that is when Dr Kamran lost his cool…She then went to JI students and they started protest…it a typical JI method.

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  • RandomReader
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:31AM

    The professor should be taken to task duly.

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  • Mogambo
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:41AM

    They pay their fees. They don’t study for free on tax money.Recommend

  • Tariq
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:41AM

    This Dr. Bangesh should be kicked out of the college. Slapping and kicking any student is what he should do at his home. This incident should treated strictly and made example for others.

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  • Arindom
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:56AM

    If a doctor remains veiled at all times, how do you know whether it is really the doctor or her servant who is treating you? I think she has come to Pakistan as she knows she can get away with it and clear exams by getting some impersonator sit in exams or attend classes under the veil.

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  • 007
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:13AM

    They say ‘There are always 3 sides of a story. His story, her story and the truth’.
    Let the truth drop its VEIL.Recommend

  • MA Haseeb
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:50AM

    Being a Pakistani it’s really sad to hear or read these kind of news from Pakistan.
    What I get from this Article is that wearing veil isn’t real thing behind slap, it all started when she Snatched microphone and honestly speaking nobody likes this, it’s really childish but slapping a lady is even worst thing.
    My opinion is clear, she had to discuss this matter with the KMC management cz press conference isn’t a solution specially against a teacher.

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  • Wahab Tariq Butt
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:56AM

    Snatching microphone from teacher to tell importance of veil? This girl should be expelled on this bfr anything else

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  • S
    Dec 18, 2013 - 12:19PM

    Absolutely shocked, the teacher should be made an example of!!

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  • Erum
    Dec 18, 2013 - 12:22PM

    She should not have snatched the microphone and if she had done it, Dr Bangash should not have loosen his temperament.
    It’s everyone’s right to wear whatever he wants but one should not misbehave and impose his thinking over others.
    In Pakistan, wearing a veil is not prohibited, but you’ve to put a pic of your whole face on your identity cards. If identifying someone is a problem then they should make a law to follow in the institutions and organizations.

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  • Erum
    Dec 18, 2013 - 12:31PM

    She should not have snatched the microphone and if she had done it, Dr Bangash shouldn’t have loosen his temperament. It’s everyone’s right to wear whatever he wants but no one has the right to misbehave or impose his thinkings on others.
    In Pakistan, wearing a veil is not prohibited but one has to put a picture of her whole face in the identity cards.
    For volunteers, if identification is a problem then they should make a law on it.

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  • M.b
    Dec 18, 2013 - 12:37PM

    No matter what the case, the teacher should never have resorted to physical violence, especially with a female. It seems the teacher values women’s right to express themselves so much that he would even beat them for it. Gives a glimpse of his treatment of his own women folk in his house

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  • A
    Dec 18, 2013 - 1:25PM

    This has nothing to do with the veil. The teacher was just an idiot.

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  • Shadan Khattak
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:09PM

    What surprises me is that after reading the article, people are discussing the veil here while the issue seems to be violence. Arguing over a matter is completely fine but its the way both the teacher and the student decided to end the argument that is shocking. We, as a society, need to learn to debate gracefully. While God may or may not punish us for wearing/not wearing the veil, we’ll surely be punished for violence in this world or the other.

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  • Shamy
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:25PM

    @Niazi:
    It is strange that in all of this, you did not see the girl snatching the mircrophone from the professor to prove her point…is she superior to everyone just because she wears the veil that prompted her to misbehave in this manner ??

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  • KAY
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:27PM

    Why muslim men do not put a veil on their faces?

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  • Umer Farooqi
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:28PM

    @Murad Malik:
    I think you need to visit a very good psychiatrist… People like you are Pure Pscho case and threat for our society.

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  • Idiot student
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:28PM

    I can’t imagine how the society has been transformed . The professor did the right thing by saying so and doing so . A medical student is not expected to behave in this manner . If that medical student (girl) becomes a doctor tomorrow and works as a skin expert or expert in andrology , then How she will behave ? Perhaps it is effect of Islamic society.

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  • s
    Dec 18, 2013 - 2:35PM

    the event is a cause of temperament on both side. Tolerance has become a problem in our society. both the teacher and student were at fault and this occurred due to mis behavior. if their a rule for women contestant of not wearing a veil over face then students should have discussed it with the correct authorities who have made the rules and shouldn’t have misbehaved , similarly if the student did this the teacher should be tolerant enough to wait for justice as well as portraying composure in order to set a good example rather then hitting. As for being a women being minors doesn’t mean we should be taking advantage of the situation.

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  • atif
    Dec 18, 2013 - 3:34PM

    The fees of Khyber medical college is 6000 USD per annum for foreign students. Thats more than 600k PKR per annum or 50k+ per month. What was your fees Mr.Murad?

    and someone snatches the microphone = you beat the crap out of them. That’s what medicine has taught to Dr.Bangash?Recommend

  • Dec 18, 2013 - 3:38PM

    It is difficult for me to see this as women’s empowerment. This girl is wanting to cover herself – completely hide behind the veil – for what? A place in heaven? Poor misguided girl. Recommend

  • Common Sense
    Dec 18, 2013 - 5:01PM

    @shamyl and istikhar khan
    Yes she committed a huge crime snatching a microphone from the instructor, which explains why she got slapped in return. People like you and their mentality are the reason acid attacks take place in Pakistan – because women are the ones that “provoke” men and hence should be put in their place.
    MashAllah very educated and enlightening thinking you have.

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  • AP
    Dec 18, 2013 - 6:35PM

    Well all doctors should leave pakistan and teach at a place where its alright to look aa students faces…and then paksitan will be without doctors. what a happy scenario!

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  • Baffled
    Dec 18, 2013 - 6:58PM

    Interesting to see that all these staunch veil wearers don’t wear one while performing Hajj. At least I haven’t seen any face covered in the broadcasts they show on tv. Also, how do they even identify themselves when they wear a veil when entering Saudi Arabia? They do have to show their face then, right?

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  • 007
    Dec 18, 2013 - 7:06PM

    Why do we have such low levels of tolerance. The veiled student, the professor, and more interestingly the people expressing their views here. Peace.

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  • jawad
    Dec 18, 2013 - 7:55PM

    It’s seriously disturbing…..what’s so wrong with covering your face one should take her decision and I don’t think theres any problem with recognizing someone where wearing hijab that teacher needs to see a shrink….

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  • A-realist
    Dec 18, 2013 - 9:44PM

    Ok. Now what part if “it’s her choice” don’t you all understand. Loved the fact that some said there are three sides to a story. Here it seems to be the same. The lady is brought up in the western culture and is practicing her basic right which is the most important part in western cultures. At the same time I think she knows how to exploit that basic right to gather other peoples sympathies.
    Now that being said, I believe there is more to this than meets the eye something or someone is not sharing the whole story. I would recommend dr bangash to come out and do exactly the same. Use media to express your point but keep it in professional. A lot can be said in a short sentence.
    People will always exploit whoever they maybe, politicians or local people alike

    Good luck

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  • zeeshan raza
    Dec 18, 2013 - 9:46PM

    I think the professor did the right thing. you are going to represent the class and one cannot recognise you all the time in vail – i would say most of the time. and it is not compulsion upon you to hide your face. if you say that it was your right to do so then from where did you get the right to snatch the gadget from professor??

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  • jawa
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:17PM

    I think it’s a lame excuse that if u are representing class you shouldn’t wear hijab……..doesn’t make sense we have a teacher at university who wears hijab n I can still recognize her even if she’s in dozen niqab clad women….well does that make me superhuman n If not I’m sure prof can also recognize her……and as far as the mike snatching part is concerned there must be eyewitnesses we should left it upon the university administration to find guilty

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  • Ifz
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:40PM

    Why did she come back to study medicine in Pakistan when she is a Canadian citizen? Why, Canada does not have medical education or her grades were not upto the mark or she would not have been allowed to behave in that manner in Canada?Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:44PM

    Dear Liberalist/ Secularist/ wannabe whites
    When france banned veil you said its their right & muslims can leave france,
    Now i would suggest you to leave Pakistan if you do not like veil wearing women.

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  • Bay
    Dec 18, 2013 - 10:57PM

    @KAY:

    Why muslim men do not put a veil on their faces?

    Why hindu men dont wear saree ?
    Why western men dont wear bikini?

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  • Mona
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:53AM

    Snatching mic from a teacher z really disrespectful. She could have convinced the faculty that she will be able to fulfil her duties while being veiled not by snatching n misbehaving. With KPK at the forefront of extremism, it’s very normal for people to get initimidated by covered faces. Thy have already banned males from wearing winter shawls due to security reasons. Few cases have been reported in fata where men wore Burqas to settle scores with the victims.

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  • Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:54AM

    @Ifz:
    She is pakistani citizen too, she will stay where she wants noone has the right to question this.

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  • Sulaiman
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:57AM

    @zeeshan raza:
    This is muslim country where muslims account for 97% total population, this is not france or india. Why should you have the right to stare at a woman??? You dont make a bit of sense.

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  • Asian reader
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:52AM

    What this “educated” girl should understand is that in any Asian country you are expected to show some respect to the teachers. It is not ok in Asia to argue with teachers like she is used to in Canada . And for heaven’s sake how would any teacher react if you snatch his microphone?? As for slapping her, after all it is Pakistan. Issue here is NOT the veil, it is RESPECT your teachers, DON’T SNATCH his mic when he is speaking.

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  • Shakil
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:27PM

    It looks more of political now, teacher acted badly and should have controlled his temper and formally raised this issue and she could hve been disciplined. Now if teacher loose his job, this girl will stay at KMC for next 5 years as Macho girl and will hardly study anything. Many advocating a fee for expats, as overseas Pakistani they also pay local fee! And fee is not issue here. These wanna be doctors only go back to Pak when failing to secure place at med school overseas.

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  • Dr. Adam Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:04PM

    I have taught as a professor in the U.S. for more than 32 years and have never seen or heard a professor ever slapping a female student. Any professor who will ever dare to do such act will be fired from job on the spot. Professors are adults and highly educated people and therefore, Dr. Bangash should not have created a situation where the student had to snatch the microphone from him. Then slapping a female student is bad example for a professor. I think he should apologize to the student and his family. Slapping a woman is very bad in our Pathan culture. What would anybody think if a person hits his sister or daughter. That female student Dr. Bangash hit could easily be our sister and daughter.

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  • Dr. Adam Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:05PM

    I have taught as a professor in the U.S. for more than 32 years and have never seen or heard a professor ever slapping a female student. Any professor who will ever dare to do such act will be fired from job on the spot. Professors are adults and highly educated people and therefore, Dr. Bangash should not have created a situation where the student had to snatch the microphone from him. Then slapping a female student is bad example for a professor. I think he should apologize to the student and his family. Slapping a woman is very bad in our Pathan culture. What would anybody think if a person hits his sister or daughter. That female student Dr. Bangash hit could easily be our sister and daughter.

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  • a student
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:04PM

    in a society like pakistan where 97percent are muslim and you are a completely allowed to wear a veil socially morally and by law… where people are used to veils ,they recognize people in veil even in kpk patients are more happy with those doctors who are covered( either they wear a veil or headcovers )…why why this professor has so much problem with the veil???? they always discriminate and insult those students who wears veil until now it was only verbal bt it has became physical now… snatching a mike from teacher iz indeed dis respectful but when some one points you out in whole class insult you by words and gestures challenge your ideology without having any right … obviously one got angry .. so she snathced mike and the teacher was already in such a furry that he got this as a signal to show his hatered and slapped her even kicked her…. this is what we should learn from our so called professors.. wher are the women rights organization who always come shouting on issue like that…. i think if this has happened to a girl not wearing veil all of you here would have supported her.

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  • aziz
    Dec 25, 2013 - 10:49PM

    sorry to say but ithink some peoples has no knowledge about islam that they r saying that veil is not necessary thn i think we should have no concept of parda n subsequently of islam.
    in my view Dr.raheem bangash must be hanged to death in front of media…..

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  • Faisal Saeed
    Dec 27, 2013 - 11:18AM

    This person should be trialed and sentence according to the rules and law. So no other professor or human being can threaten the islam, values and respect of female. He showed as a professor that what is his background and what is his character. This Dr. Raheem Bangash should be trialed and should stop his practice and license to run this prestigeious profession in Pakistan…….

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  • Jan 3, 2014 - 7:54PM

    As a Pakhtun, a sociologist and as a teacher myself, I think that the teacher SHOULD never have KICKED her (if that is exactly what he did). It is totally against Pakhtun traditions to hit (read kick) a female. However, the girl comes from Canada and must know that a bit of scolding is very much NORMAL in our educational culture. Pakhtuns respect their teachers and it will be very sad if Ms Syed is exaggerating the issue; she should opt for politics instead of medical profession if what she claims is not true. I think if the professor has not beaten the student very violently, there was no point in politicizing this issue. Ms Syed is still young and maybe still immature. Furthermore, teachers are like parents and can punish students here in our Eastern culture. I’m not saying teachers can do anything to their students. Teachers like police do have a bad P.R. but the masses should not raise an issue on the basis of rumours and any political party should not use students to malign a professor because he does not belong to their party. An independent inquiry should be done and action should be taken against either party. If a professor suggests something as a father and elder, the student has no right to make a drama on such INFLAMMABLE issues. However, a teacher can also not FORCE any female student not to wear a veil as it is against the constitution of Pakistan. I think both the parties seem to have crossed the limits here. We as united Pakistanis should not divide our selves on this issue and not encourage rumours to entertain ourselves. A ‘momin’ does not abuse anyone over a rumour nor a ‘liberal’ should ever abuse a female in such a way.

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