Revising textbooks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Published: August 19, 2013
PTI chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PTI chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is set to ‘rectify’ mistakes in the school curriculum and restore to it material regarding ‘jihad’, which was removed under a reform process initiated in 2006, and carried through with at the provincial level under the previous Awami National Party government. A committee of educationists and scholars had, at the time, worked to remove content from textbooks that would in any way promote violence and replace it with themes intended to encourage peace and tolerance. Logic would suggest these are essential to the province. As part of the same exercise, Arab heroes had been replaced by stories of persons closer to home, including poets, Sufi thinkers and others with roots in K-P.

However, the provincial minister for elementary and secondary education at a meeting at the offices of the Peshawar Textbook Board has said this process may soon be reversed. The minister, affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has said the ‘religious’ content of curriculums would never be sacrificed. The PTI has faced strong pressure on this count from its ally in the provincial government, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), whose ministers attended the meeting. The JI had made fervent efforts to be allotted the education ministry in K-P, with strong protests heard from civil society groups following early indications that the PTI was preparing to do just this.

The PTI chief, Imran Khan, has said that the success of the K-P government was vital to his party. He is, of course, right. But he must consider what success should mean. In a province as troubled as K-P, it must include an end to militancy and the extremist mindset that spurs it on. In the longer term, this can happen only by ensuring that the next generation receives the right message and is able to move away from the hatred and accompanying violence that has engulfed the province. Much of it is perpetrated in the name of religion. In these circumstances, promoting violence in any manner does not appear to be a very wise decision at all and will only lead us into greater darkness and ignorance, hauling us back from the attempts to move towards light.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Ali Hashim
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:12PM

    If true this is really crazy!
    The sad part is that it exposes the PTI’s real credentials and agenda.
    I would have thought that a political party with a new message of Justice and with support from the educated youth of Pakistan today would be more balanced in its approach and would not just bend to the pressures from the extremists. Perhaps I am wrong they are not bending to the pressure- they are part of the pressure! Surely this cannot auger well for the naya Pakistan they have in mind.


  • Ahmed
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:24PM

    How about include the word ‘jihad’ and tell what it really means?

    Secondly, there is nothing different in Sufism and main stream Islam. It’s the so called followers that have messed it up.


  • Toticalling
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:27PM

    I have always suspected that Imran Khan is a mullah in disguise. In this 21st century, we do not need jihad, if we did, would not be migrating to non Muslim countries in millions and living with them as friends. In fact we enjoy more freedom here than back home.
    It appears more and more people want to live in 6th century. We are all human beings and we should distance ourselves only from those who are evil and not because they belong to another faith.
    I say IK should not include jihad texts.


  • Raj - USA
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:35PM

    Good thoughts. Intentions are also good. But, I do not think PTI will be able to do anything on this.


  • Alann
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:40PM

    All those who have been hating India all along even when too many Indians tried to correct them, I hope they read this article.
    This article is a perfect example of how Pakistan’s various governments have ruined their youth and filled them with false facts and hatred against their neighbour country for so many years.
    Just like I’ve already myself said it few times on ET, hating India based on your own beliefs and without any solid facts or partial truths will only drag your country more towards self-destruction. Instead the youth of Pakistan needs to start questioning every single decision of their governments (and military) – it is the only way to bring about a positive reform in the country and also in its international image. Sending & supporting “good talibanis” who attack neighbours and create tensions won’t really help in the long run. Your “leaders” will fly away to UK or Saudi Arabia the moment something goes terribly wrong in Pakistan and will call it a “self-imposed exile”; Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf, Bhutto – they all have done it. It is the youth and future generations who are going to suffer ultimately – not that they are not suffering already…


  • Alann
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:42PM


    How are the intentions good? Did you even read the whole article properly? How is re-introducing ‘jihad’ in school books a good decision in a place where people are killed everyday in the name of religion?


  • Nadir
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:44PM

    As expected, educational reform always comes down to issues of how long the chapter on jihad should be.


  • Silas
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:57PM

    So it took years to undo ‘the Zia touch’ from the text books and here PTI redoes it and all the efforts of the previous government goes down the drain. KPK needs jihad? Against whom? KPK is on the receiving end of jihad (although an improper kind). KPK needs peace, not jihad. The only kind of jihad they need to know about is the spiritual jihad. Teach them about peace.


  • Silas
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:57PM

    Proof that PTI is the new political wing of TTP.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Aug 19, 2013 - 10:59PM

    Great efforts god bless u IK. no one can hide the truth.


  • yusuf
    Aug 19, 2013 - 11:05PM

    Great, world was a better place when Jihad was in practice, once Muslims left practical Jihad there is chaos everywhere.


  • csmann
    Aug 19, 2013 - 11:22PM

    When I read the heading, I thought that here is one thing PTI(IK) might be doing right. But reading the contents I came to realize that it is actually UNDOING THE REVISION.It confirms now that PTI(IK) is the political arm of TTP and all the regressive forces in Pakistan and active in pushing their agenda through. They are working hard to push the country back a millennium, and undoing anything and everything that the progressive and democratic forces had to work hard to achieve over many decades.This also is enough of a reason to ban JI as a political organisation(and probably PTI too), just like Bangladesh has done ,and Egypt is working on currently.


  • ishiPTI
    Aug 19, 2013 - 11:44PM

    Meanings of Jihad are:

    The spiritual struggle within oneself against sin.
    (among Muslims) A war or struggle against unbelievers.

    FYI @Toticalling and @Ali Hashim; you guys better know what you are talking. Bakwas Bakwas and Bakwas.

    Mr. Khan you are doing exactly what is needed in KPK, we are with and will support you till we have last drop of blood in our bodies. God bless you.


  • Saleem
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:06AM

    It is a real shame that PTI has accepted JI cum TTP agenda. JI leadership is thriving on past and is clueless about Jihad. They need to learn Jihad of their own nafas first and stop chasing politics. This party has never condemn 50,000+ Pakistanis who got killed by Talibans and keep towing their line. I am disgusted with Imran Khan that he has accepted their line.


  • Affan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:16AM

    dont link terrorism with jihad.. even sufis cnt deny jihad… itz part of islam…


  • Dj
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:19AM

    Poorly researched article


  • AlChemist
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:20AM

    How about establishing a proper health care system, increasing revenue, drastically improving the law and order situation, gender equality, rights of minorities, creating jobs….So much else to do but their priorities are not aligned in the direction of public interest.
    Seems like this government will be nothing but a fiasco just like previous others.


  • Alann
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:52AM

    Out of the top 35 Failed States in the world today, 22 are either Islamic or have a significant Muslim population.
    Ironically, India, a country which probably has the biggest (or maybe second biggest now) Muslim population in the world, is not even in “top 75” countries on the Failed State Index. I wonder why…

    Maybe it has something to do with not teaching Jihad to the youth? Or more than that, maybe India knows how to care for its masses belonging to many different communities, despite of what the Pakistanis think of “plight” of Muslims in India.
    I mentioned India because most Pakistanis have the belief that Muslims in India are being oppressed and it is the “pious duty” of Pakistan(is) to liberate them with jihad against India.

    Just a random interesting link

    It might be an eye opener to some of you; For the rest, feel free to dismiss it as a Zionist Hindu/American/Israeli conspiracy.


  • Shanawar Hashmi
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:11AM

    Unfortunately Jihad is misinterpreted on both extreme ends of the spectrum. Terrorists think that killing is Jihad while Liberals think Jihad is killing. I pity both extremists.


  • Sharjeel Raza Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:51AM

    Before jumping the gun blindly please note that “jihad” is one of the key components of Islam, just like “fasting” or “namaz/salat”. People here refer to “jihad” as if it were a bad word! Please note that Jihad does not mean killing other humans of whatever religion. Jihad in Islam does not promote violence. On the contrary, Jihad simply means first to restrain oneself from evil deeds and then prevent the spread of evil for the benefit of the society. Prophets, Sufis, et all, always preached love & peace AND practiced Jihad all their lives. Sadly, the meaning and eventually the spirit of Jihad, has been corrupted by people with vested interests, pseudo intellectuals and farcical liberals.Recommend

  • CRK
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:09AM

    Back to the good old days of Zia-ul-haq


  • Raj - USA
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:17AM

    Very, very sorry for my comment. Read it in haste and thought that he want to introduce the softer version of Islam when I read on the sufi poets and replacing arabs. My apologies.


  • Gingo
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:24AM

    Teaching Jihad at such an early age is like teaching detailed Sex Education to kindergarteners, they just won’t get it..
    Concept of Jihad should be taught when nearing adulthood or when a person has developed a social sense.


  • Gp65
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:00AM

    @Ali Hashim: I think your second guess is more likely true I.e. they are part of the pressure by the extremist. Just a few weeks back, Abrar Alvi, a senior PTI member said on a show that it would be acceptable to shut down the existing co-Ed schools in KPK if he TTP so demanded.

    So you yourself said that one of the meanings of jihad is war or struggle against unbelievers. Are you saying that it is desirable to teach kids to hate someone else simply because they do not share your religious beliefs?do you not see that it is precisely this type of thinking that is displayed by the suicide bombers?

    @Affan – Jihad maybe part of Islam(as a non- Muslim, I do not have the knowledge to comment on this), I have 2 questions
    – can the curriculum designer ensure that when something like this is in the curriculum, it will be taught correctly I.e. the internal struggle against one’s own weaknesses will be discussed or will at least some of the teachers, teach the student to kill ‘non-believers’?
    – has teaching it (perhaps it was taught in the wrong way – i do not know) to young kids in the past served to radicalize Pakistan or not?Recommend

  • Aliya
    Aug 20, 2013 - 7:37AM

    I totally agree with IK. Muslims do need to understand what jihad really is. Leaving the real meaning aside will be fairly dangerous. By introducting it again and explaining exactly what it really means will help people to understand that Jihad doesn’t only mean fight. There is a bigger meaning to it instead of what people been preaching out there.

    i could read alot of comments from people not liking this step, ppl have to open their minds up to take challenge, But have they ever been told what Jihad really is. Running away from things don’t solve a problem. You have to deal with the issue to solve it not to run away from it.

    ppl need to open their eyes and read more about their history and learn about their culture instead of just watching indian, hollywood movies and critizing on ppl who are willing to give their heart out to work for Pakistan. Words are great motivators…ppl need to rise and learn things..


  • Rehmat
    Aug 20, 2013 - 8:47AM

    @Sharjeel Raza Khan:
    Raza and salat are one of the 5 pillars of Islam. are you saying jihad too is one of the 5 pillars of Islam?


  • Awa
    Aug 20, 2013 - 9:29AM

    Do you know meaning of jihad?


  • Naya Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:18AM

    Bohot Tyte……rightly said. People donot know the meaning of Jihad. They are so stupid to think that making suicide attacks and killing innocent people is called as Jihad. This shows that Pakistani are moving away from their religion and the 24/7 media has corrupted they mind and true perception of Islam.

    Sad……Very Sad……Recommend

  • Herald
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:50AM

    What nonsense. Don’t restore the religious propaganda removed from the text books. This is a retrograde step. Aren’t there enough beheadings and other religious related atrocities already. The PTI is a disgrace.


  • Kamran
    Aug 20, 2013 - 11:26AM

    I don’t know why the people are so narrow minded. PTI is revising all the text books and introducing latest content in all subjects like science, maths, english etc They are doing significant effort to improve the education standard of the province.. But we just stick to ‘jihad’ related topic and ignore all other things. SighhhhhRecommend

  • Thinker
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:01PM

    Don’t be dishearted. It is a campaign against PTI to demoralize the weak minds.

    Don’t forget………In-sha-Allah……….Naya Pakistan!Recommend

  • Sharjeel Raza Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:56PM

    Jihad literally means to struggle or strive in the way or sake of Allah. Jihad takes a very important status in the doctrine of Islam and is one of the basic duties for every Muslim.Though, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the term Holy War (as described in most english dictionaries). Such a term, or its equivalent doesn’t exist in the Islamic doctrine. The Christian Crusaders in the mid-ages invented this ideology of Holy War. There is nothing “Holy” about wars. Wars only involve killings and disasters!
    Sadly the word “Jihad” has become synonomous with a mania of religion & conjures up images of fanatics with savage beards & firey eyes marching with guns and attacking the infidels and/or pressing them to recite the Kalima under the edge of the sword.
    Jihad is NOT killing innocent people. Jihad is NOT flying a plane into a building packed with civilians. Jihad is NOT fighting out of anger and hatred. Jihad is NOT killing others just because they don’t agree with you. Jihad is NOT killing others just because they are not Muslims.
    This is what needs to taught properly, instead of simply looking the other way and wishing that the incorrect meaning and spirit of Jihad will rectify itself.


  • PK
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:27PM

    @Alann: “Out of the top 35 Failed States in the world today, 22 are either Islamic or have a significant Muslim population.”
    Yes. It was prophesied 1400 years ago. Only those muslims know about this who actually read about Islam. The rest just give idiotic liberal comments like above. And telling you the fact, that they will suffer more, until they will unite again, will follow the exact Islam as we should follow. Till then, people like you can enjoy them this way.
    Jihad has got nothing to do with terrorism. You are just brain washed, as being pro-westerns. Who created this word for their benefits and attacking everyone :). Many are just naive, lost, to even think what is happening around.
    To the rest of the people, Pakistan was created in the name of Islam – Meaning of Pakistan; There is no God but Allah (Pakistan ka matlab kya; la ilaha illa Allah). Who don’t want this, and Islamic material in books, why don’t you migrate to your liberal India? where you can dance and sing through out your lives?


  • Fiz
    Aug 21, 2013 - 1:39AM

    Naya Pakistan under the rule of Talban aka PTI…………..yeyyyyy,yuhoo. Right PTI??


  • Syed Hasan Shahid Bukhari
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:54AM

    Tribune …dismayed at the way things are progressing …

    Go play your game in the West … We know what we have to do …

    Let Lone !


  • Mamu
    Aug 21, 2013 - 1:20PM

    @Sharjeel Raza Khan:
    Appreciate your reply. We need to work hard in order to correct the defaced image of Jihad and Islam in Media. Many few people know the real meaning of Jihad.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Aug 21, 2013 - 2:09PM

    The undeniable philosophy of Islamic Pakistan is for all (grown-up)-children the daily front, middle and back page of Express Tribune!

    It is perhaps the only institution which does not itself invent lies!


  • Z
    Aug 21, 2013 - 6:04PM

    These people did not publish my COMMENT… i know how fake and biased this newspaper is!!!!!!


  • Asad
    Aug 21, 2013 - 8:35PM

    To every one opposing this. Just one question do you oppose Jihad (If you really know the true meaning of it)?


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