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Friday, 16 December 2011

Dire state of Pakistani education system, should impel UK to reconsider foreign aid in Pakistan

Free at last a chance to start over!

53 children were rescued from the torturous conditions of a madrassa in Karachi on Wednesday 14th November, many of whom were found chained to walls, when freed by security forces.

Children as young as 7 and 21 teenagers were among those found during the raid on the self-styled seminary in Pakistan's biggest city.

Former students including an eight-year-old; told the Herald Sun, they were regularly beaten at the school, which was equipped with chains, hooks and a warren of basement rooms. 

Police said the students were chained up because they were drug addicts whom the madrassa "wanted to rehabilitate", but many details remain unclear.

Madrassas, are known to provide the poorest families in Pakistan with the only affordable education regulation is lacking and the same establishments have become recruitment grounds for the Taliban and other al-Qaida-linked terror groups.

The Herald Sun revealed a number of concerns highlighted by former pupils:

Accounts given to AFP by students and relatives indicated that impoverished families believed the madrassa could offer treatment to drug addicts and a religious education to the youngest boys.
Azmat Ulla, a 17-year-old student, said his father sent him there because he suffered fits and could be violent.
"My father took me to several spiritual healers who said I was a victim of black magic," Azmat said. "Three months ago I was admitted here."
"My father pays 3,000 rupees ($34) per month to the madrassa as a fee to make me a normal person, but I still suffer from fits and despite that they kept me chained and beat me with sticks ruthlessly," he said.
Mohammad Ashraf said he had sent his eight-year-old son Mushtaq Ahmed to the madrassa believing he would receive a religious education.
"I didn't know the madrassa management would beat him so mercilessly. I will no longer keep my son in this madrassa," he said.
His son, Mushraq, said the teachers beat the students daily.
"I don't know why they kept young children with adults here," he said.
Police official Akram Khan said it was a "complex situation" and there would be "no clear picture until police collect all the evidence".
"Relatives of the elder boys and men say they had sent them for drug addiction rehabilitation, while younger children's relatives say they were sent for religious studies," he said.
Hanif Jullandhri, head of a federation of Pakistani madrassas, told Express Television that the premises was not registered.
"We strongly condemn this and urge the government to take the harshest possible action against its owners. The government should investigate how such torture cells are established and operated," he said.
At least 15,148 seminaries in Pakistan educate more than two million students - around five per cent of the 34 million children in formal education - according to official statistics.
But officials suspect thousands more go unregistered, providing sons of Pakistan's poverty-stricken majority with the only education they can afford.
We are concerned that 5% of Pakistan's students are taught in these self styled seminaries.  Reports of the cruelty and brutality in these centres are rife and the severe treatment that young children are subjected to, can only exacerbate the existing tensions in the country.  Quite simply, violence breeds violence and no amount of "sesame street" programmes will be able to rehabilitate more 'seasoned' victims.  The beatings and torture revealed in this reportage are used to inculcate hatred and instil an extremist agenda.  Pakistan's Government should be made to provide a concrete plan of action to eradicate education, in such rogue entities or have aid directed towards educational reform suspended.

If any of our British tax payers' money is diverted towards assisting in madrassa improvement, than our government will have failed in it's purpose of protecting it's own citizens.   Pakistani madrassa students of today are the militants of tomorrow...


  1. Shame on you You people are enemies of our country I Want to Say You"Love it or Leave It"

  2. Zeeshan I am British or can you not read the title of this group. Fortunately I was born here so did not have to "leave it", I was given a birthright of freedom in the UK.