‘Teaching students about Ranjeet or Bhagat Singh would not harm Pakistan’

Published: September 17, 2011
Rabbani blasts centrists, establishment for trying to undo devolution. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Rabbani blasts centrists, establishment for trying to undo devolution. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Teaching students about Ranjeet or Bhagat Singh would not harm Pakistan in any way. A distorted version of history is no longer relevant in the post 18th amendment era.

This was said by Senator Raza Rabbani, the architect of the 18th constitutional amendment, on Friday at the roundtable workshop titled “Education in Federally Organised Countries”. The workshop was organised by the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) and the Forum of Federations in collaboration with German Foreign Office.

He blamed the establishment and “some elements within the ruling elite” of trying to circumvent the devolution process.

In an hour-long speech, the senator spoke out his heart, saying the implementation commission faced a strong opposition from several quarters in the second phase of the devolution of ministries to the provinces.

Senator Rabbani spoke of a “dangerous trend” that may rollback spirit of the 18th constitutional amendment, which, he warned, would be detrimental to Pakistan.

Referring to a recently-held national conference on syllabi and curriculum, he said the federal government or the Planning Commission had no constitutional or legal authority to organise such a conference after the 18th amendment that empowered provinces to exclusively deal with the issue of syllabi and curriculum.

“We must ensure the rollback is stopped. You have the political history of state suppression, state disappearances, state murder and torture. You have the history where the provinces were denied the rights to promote their languages,” Senator Rabbani said.

He deplored the fact that several people with centrist mindset strongly opposed the process of devolution and provincial autonomy which is a blatant attempt to violate the constitution. “Don’t forget there was a huge trust-deficit between the provinces and the centre which still persists.”

“Pakistan was created to become a welfare state, but the purpose was changed and the country became a garrison and national security state,” he said.

Eminent educationalists, senior education officers, chairmen textbook boards, vice-chancellors of major universities from the four federating units and Islamabad, and research scholars attended the conference.

In favour of a decentralised setup

Earlier on Thursday, Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir, speaking at a CCEP conference on world democracy day, said political parties are national assets. “I don’t say the political parties are perfect. There are a lot of faults. [But] it doesn’t mean we eliminate them. We must raise our voice for the reforms of political parties.”

Dr Jaffar Ahmed of Karachi University talked about the post 18th amendment scenario and rejected the arguments that the decentralisation would undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“Why do we think that provinces would act against the country? Why we consider the provinces are anti-Pakistan? Pakistan was created by the provinces,” he argued.

Renowned journalist Iftikhar Ahmed said the military dictators always claimed to get rid of corrupt politicians, but instead promoted moral and financial corruption.

Dr Khadim Hussain, Managing Director of Baacha Khan Trust Education Foundation, said the 1973 Constitution reflects the aspirations of the people and a “collective will” is required to uphold its supremacy.

Eminent analyst and journalist Raza Rumi said it was important to cultivate the relations between citizens and the Constitution in order to progress as a democracy.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Sep 17, 2011 - 12:10PM

    in past center in shape of federal education ministry curriculum wing was acting as sole body to decided what should be in curriculum or what should not be. The center at that time was reluctant to include even provinces in that process, neither it engaged politicians and civil society. there was neither transparency nor consultative process in it. by decentralization that trend or practice is too decentralized as 18th amendment did not mention any thing regarding transparency and consultative process. it is high time that our TEXT BOOK BOARDS should transforms into regulatory bodies who have not only a transparent and consultative process but also have authority to review all types of Text book including public, private and madrassa text books. every province should have an over cite committee to monitor all types of text books. this committee should have elected , professional and civil society members along with representatives responsible for publishing and preparing text books. that over cite committee should have some representatives from federal government too. federal govt ministry of education should help provinces by issuing curriculum guide lines which should be prepare by a large consultative process.


  • Farhan Zaheer
    Sep 17, 2011 - 2:59PM

    Well said Rabbani sahib.


  • Salma
    Sep 17, 2011 - 3:01PM

    I completely agree with Mr Rabbani…this thing is going on as people are grappling to cling on to their previous roles whether in govt, in establishment or in donors and NGOs. On another front they are trying to establish a national child rights commission ….simply fail to understand why? can’t we accept it the powers is no more in Islamabad and if we are that keen and earnest why don’t we make the effort to go and help the provinces work on these issues.


  • CB Guy
    Sep 17, 2011 - 3:51PM

    the fact that we do not teach any heroes (heroes pertaining to our geographical location) in courses is quite strange, frankly purposefully keeping away from the knowledge of our history. In circumstances such as these do we really need to educate the youth about the figures indians base their nationalism on. With our media already leaning towards india, this is the last thing we need. Recommend

  • peace
    Sep 17, 2011 - 4:51PM

    Bravo Mr.Raza Rabani for your efforts.The devolution plan actually empowers federating unites or provinces who are actually the building blocks of state.Pakistan stands on those four provinces and trusting their capacities and intentions,we move on towards a welfare and harmonious Pakistan.Otherwise pro centrist lobbies want to usurp the rights of provinces and it’ll only widen center-province trust gap.
    Education is NO more business of center post 18th amendment but why not respect the law instead of finding excuse to fail it.Since now Education department has become very lucrative due to big amount of international funding and support, centrists actually want to use that money for protecting their personal agendas.
    Any effort to sabotage devolution plan will send strong negative signal to smaller provinces,and at this time of chaos and crisis,it’ll help nothing but create more mistrust and hate.


  • abhi
    Sep 17, 2011 - 5:14PM

    what!!!!!!!!!why should kids learn about ranjeet singh,the foreign invader.likes of mahmud ghazni,ghori and bin qasim need to be further eulogized.


  • assa
    Sep 17, 2011 - 5:25PM

    by the way is India teaching about Muhammad Ali jinnah,Sir Syed Ahmad Khan,Ch Rahmat Ali,Liaqat Ali Khan? the answer is no India only love to teach about Akbar Bugti,Bacha khan. in fact India has also given a award to bacha khan only because he was against the Pakistan.


  • SaudiRules
    Sep 17, 2011 - 6:00PM

    All the provinces in pakistan has a proud cultural and linguistic history. There is no harm in learning “all true” history of this land and promoting regional language, history and culture in schools.Recommend

  • Ali Nangyal
    Sep 17, 2011 - 6:05PM

    Well People RAZA Rabani and many more like him are the direct descendents of Rangeet Singh and Baghat Singh, thus one wonder they have soft felling for them and hold them regards them as heroes.

    Aman KI ashaya and some other venues are infect windows though which they want to promote and propagate this agenda.

    The sole purpose of all these shenanigans is to make pakistan a secular state bring an end to the Two Nation theory culmination of Islamic ideology from the soil of this land and encouragement of enlightened moderation


  • Babloo
    Sep 17, 2011 - 6:53PM

    So is history manufactured or imported from China ?


  • Rahul Singh
    Sep 17, 2011 - 8:01PM

    Pakistan’s faulty education system is one of the major reason behind anti India and anti Hindu sentiments. History has been distorted to serve a certain ideology by the vested interests. Time has come to re look the education system in Pakistan.


  • True Believer
    Sep 17, 2011 - 8:03PM


    Please Google …


    Q2c) Role and contributions of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in Muslim reformation movement in IndiaRecommend

  • Sep 17, 2011 - 11:14PM

    i would be happy to support your argument when indian education system start teaching in their books the role of muslim rulers in indian sub continent. I feel these people so ignorent to the world when they talk about history. Every nation and country has their own truth and prospective of history & if you ever study here in Europe or USA , you would know what i mean!!!!
    These subjects could be included in higher education while discussing the different aspects of history but leave this from school/college levels please


  • true pakistani
    Sep 18, 2011 - 2:29AM

    @assa: Please speak truthfully when we are debating of some thing on which the future depends. I have many Indian friends and Indians do teach about Jinnah, Syed ahmed Khan, Khan abdul gaffar khan. In fact the Aligarh muslim University which was built on the idea of Syed Ahmed Khan had maximum number of Hindu professors (appointed by Syed Ahmed Khan himself) as he wanted real education over there. A distorted history is even more dangerous than terrorism.


  • abhi
    Sep 18, 2011 - 5:30AM

    usman bashir bhai i can assure you we indians have no shame in studying and learning about muslim rule in sub continent.i remember my class X icse history text book devoted considerable number of chapters regarding tughlaqs,khiljis and of course the mughals.the mughal reign of babur akbar jehangir and shah jahan is described as a golden period second only to the guptas.i dont understand how you make such comments without an iota of proof.


  • Zain ul Abideen Bangash
    Sep 18, 2011 - 2:03PM

    Well.. I would say .. it ain’t gonna amount to anything nefarious or belligerent to sole monogram of our Education system and so to our Syllabus.. But the point which Rabbani made about role of ambushing forces to dismantle the centralization, its really worth noticing and needs a thought!! I feel like we could do more being liberal rather than echoing the same tantrums of any sick minds who might see the earth slippery to their feet because they fear they won’t find their survival…!!

    God Bless Pakistan!


  • assa
    Sep 18, 2011 - 4:25PM

    Indian culture has already entered in our blood through indian soaps. what we want to teach our kids?@true pakistani:


  • Ahmed
    Sep 18, 2011 - 6:32PM

    We can recreate the past just as we can create the future. We separated from India because we no longer want to be associated with them. Our ancestors were the same as theirs. But so what? We can be who we want to be. We want to be like Arabs the chosen people of the prophet (pbuh). They might be nomadic and less civilized by some definitions. But I think that is immaterial. This country was created for pure Muslims and the purest are the arabs. So I would rather that we read about Arab conquerors than kafirs. Just my opinion. I am just being honest. In a few generations there wouldn’t be a conflict. We will be accepted as a pure Islamic Arab nation. So this is just growing pains.



  • Sep 18, 2011 - 7:35PM

    i think one should also read krishan kumar book prejudice and pride than he/she will realized that how indians too changed the text books just to secure supper nationalism. the book is published by penguin and available at READINGS lhore. according to records, in 1968 idian state started instructing text book authors to had greater emphasis on anti pakistan trends in text book after adopting 1968 education policy while in Pakistan Noor khan’s education policy 1969 was a turning point towards religious extreemism on the basis of anti india sentiments. same happened in bangladesh aafter 1972 when the government of mujub ur rahman instructed to prepare text books to appease bangali nationalism only. there is a need to delink education from supper nationalisms. am astonish why the editor reject my earlier post? looks strang


  • Ana
    Sep 18, 2011 - 10:47PM

    Raza Rabbani is ATa Rabbani’s son..Ata Rabbani was Quaide-Azam’s ADC..he is one of the few honest senators/politicians we have in this country


  • Jawaad
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:12AM

    this is the effect of SAFMA MEDIA and us funding ppl like him say this
    Pakistani NAtion was born thanks to Iqbal and Jinnah simple. The british left asia not because of gandi but because of Hitler and America threatening to cancel loands if UK did not end its empire
    we dont care about some small time rebels leader, we care more about the millions who died for pakistan, not gandi and his dislike of black south africans. Pakistan teaches about some of the ranjits but mainly focussed on modern history and indus civilisation


  • Shahid Khan
    Sep 21, 2011 - 2:21AM

    Well done Raza Rabbani!

    May I add the following to the list;

    Raja Dahir, Raja Porus and the great Kautalya aka Chanakya


  • M.Bugi
    Oct 11, 2011 - 3:19PM

    Each Country the Brits occupied, they had to face opposition ,which they Killed with conspiracies first from adjoining areas, once the opposition was weak, they sent in Modern machinery to Fight the weaker opponents, this trend grew, so much that the Sun did not sat/Go down on the British empire, Right from American/Canada continent till CHINA. was the armada of Mercenaries pouncing on gold gold and nothing but gold, five European Powers shared the world as colonies,local freedom fighters were named as terrorists, to name just a few from asia, are Nawab Siraj Ud daullah, Sultan Tippo shaheed and Bhagat singh -there are countless others but these are a house hold name at least in my family*thanks for sharing what comes out Naturally-i am quite contant with this,hope to see a museum in Lahore and a library on the above mentioned persons from areas of Pakistan as mentioned in the Note of the senetor,M.Bugi=


  • Doctor
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:43PM

    All my fellow Pakistanis who make false claims: (a) go talk to your Indian friends and see that they actually learned quite a bit about the Mughals, (b) how do Indian soaps have anything to do with learning the history of our land?, (c) our delusional history taught in our textbooks is part of the reason that Pakistan is in such a bind right now. We’re all raised to think that Pakistan is perfect and that our history is only Islamic. I guess what you’re all saying is we can be as absurd as we want to be. Bravo. Recommend

  • csmann
    Oct 18, 2011 - 10:38PM

    no wonder pkistanis dont have any perspective of the reality of things;when you learn untruths,yu cant think or act rightly,the glaring proof of that is that not many countries believe whatever pakistan has to say,and consider it a lie


  • kamal
    Oct 23, 2011 - 12:30AM

    indian textbooks teach about Sir Syed, Jinnah, Abdul Gaffar Khan..And again we have about 3 chapters out of 10 dedicated to the Mugal rule in India.We have all the ancient history of sindh, punjab, afganistan….


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 11:33AM

    the common factor in both Indian and Pakistani text books is obvious bias against the Punjab and Bengal. no one mention about the 50 years resistance of Lhore Darbar from 1799 till 1849. it was Britishers who planned a jihad against Lhore Darbar yet cort historians and so-called subalterns under the influence of colonial scholarship called Lhore Darbar a sikh kingdom. it was maharaja ranjeet singh who always managed khalsa pant not to influence on policies yet it was Britshers who wanted to introduced Ranjeet as sikh not as Punjabi. Britishers knew that Muslims were more than 78% in ranjeet empire so by using Sikh Muslim controversy they tried to engage Muslim Punjabi. for this purpose lot of Britishers including kanigam, khaniya lal and syed latif wrote books. till today our so-called progressive intellectuals in south Asia r not ready to challenge this due to their biased approach.


  • Pankaj Sinha
    Nov 2, 2011 - 1:22AM

    For your information in India we do learn about Muhammad Ali jinnah & Sir Syed Ahmad Khan but not much of Rahmat Ali and Liaqat Ali Khan because they had zero contribution to Indian Independence. Sir Syed was a respected reformist and still revered in AMU (never changed the name of univ) but Jinnah is still found in Indian school history as Independence leader who later turned to creation of Pakistan. Liaqat & Rahmat should be lucky in first place to be in Pakistan’s history text book because it was one man army that led to Pakistan formation (i.e. Jinnah).


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