PESHAWAR: The Government Citizen Front stressed upon the elimination of hate material against non-Muslims from school curricula and resolution of issues encountered by jail inmates.
The body comprising both government and civil society representatives held a meeting with Home and Tribal Affairs Secretary Arbab Muhammad Arif on Thursday. Speaking on the occasion, Arif said, “The government is working on a plan to resolve the issues pertaining to prisoners and make the justice system easy and accessible.”
Two sub-committees were also formed to table recommendations in this regard; the one for prisoners will hold its first meeting on Wednesday whereas the committee regarding hate material will meet by the end of August.
Members of the committees represent different walks of life and will visit Central Prison Peshawar to get firsthand information of the problems faced by prisoners.
Representing the Sikh community, Sardar Gopal Singh said hatred against spiritual leaders of his community is taught to students of Class 7 in history textbooks. After listening to Singh’s reservations, nearly all the participants at the meeting denounced the presence of such material in school curricula and condemned the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board for not removing it. Participants demanded the home secretary to take notice of the issue. One of the participants, Haji Muhammad Javed said, “Islam does not allow one to disrespect other religions, their leaders and scholars.”
Members of NGO Aitebaar were also present on the occasion. The NGO aims to help with post-crisis rehabilitation activities. At the meeting, Aitebaar members voiced their reservations regarding the requirement of NOCs for functioning freely.
They maintained it affects the flow of their humanitarian activities. The home secretary assured help to Aitebaar and all those NGOs that intend to help the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and other such bodies in relief activities.
Moreover, the issue of threats to professors of University of Peshawar was also discussed. UoP Department of Conflict and Peace Studies Head Professor Jamil Chitrali said over a period of three years, 85 threatening emails have been received by around 30 teachers. He added there should be a mechanism to combat such trends.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2015.