KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Khurram Sher Zaman has demanded the Sindh education minister to take appropriate action against schools that offer dance classes.
According to a letter submitted to the minister on September 26, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, Zaman has tried to bring to attention the inclusion of dance classes as part of the curriculum in certain private schools. The elected lawmaker from PS-112 thinks that dance should not be taught at school, as Pakistan is an Islamic republic and dance is 'against Islamic principles and teachings'.
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He has also demanded that the minister take 'action in accordance with Islamic principles and injunctions that are protected and advocated in the Constitution of Pakistan'. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Zaman justified the letter, saying that dancing is against the country's laws, as the Constitution disallows schools from indulging girls in dancing on Bollywood songs.
Explaining why he wrote the letter, the MPA said that several parents have approached him in relation to dance performances in schools. He said the parents informed him that students are 'forced' to dance during extracurricular activities at certain schools. However, he failed to name the schools, saying he just wanted the issue to be resolved. Earlier in the year, Zaman also moved a privileged motion against upscale restaurants serving alcohol in the city's posh areas.
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Speaking about the national curriculum of 2006, the head of the Sindh education department's curriculum wing, Fauzia Khan, said music and dance is not a part of the curriculum and as per her knowledge no public or private schools have added dance to their curriculum. Khan, however, clarified that schools following Cambridge or American systems may add dance to their curriculum as it can be considered part of an arts course. She added that these schools are not bound to follow the national curriculum.
On the other hand, the head of the Private School Management Association, Khalid Shah, said that private schools are bound to follow the national curriculum, which does not allow teaching dance. He said that though he does not know of any school that has added dance in the curriculum he would, however, support action against any school involved in teaching dance. Classical dancer Sheema Kirmani said no school allows dance performances, according to her knowledge, and students passionate about dance have to take private lessons. She criticised the PTI MPA and claimed that his party itself promotes 'vulgar dances' at their public gatherings. "First they should ban dance performances at their own rallies and then fight against art activities in schools, which rarely includes dance," she said.
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Not party policy
Zaman's view is not shared by his entire party, as PTI's deputy secretary-general Imran Ismail said that the letter written by their lawmaker is an individual act and has no connection with the party. Ismail also said that even if there are dance classes in schools, students are not forced to participate in them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2016.
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