Chitral teacher remanded for assaulting minor students

PESHAWAR: A local court in Chitral on Tuesday sent the principal of a private school to jail on judicial remand for assaulting minor students.

Drosh police registered a first information report under the Child Protection Act against the principal of The Learners Public School, Drosh.

—Screengrab
—Screengrab

The teacher, identified as Inamul Kabir, was soon arrested after a video of him assaulting students was picked up by the mainstream media.

Police presented the teacher to the court of a judicial magistrate, after which Kabir was sent to jail on judicial remand for a week.

An eye-witness present at the court said the teacher “seemed nervous” while a police official told DawnNews Kabir regretted his actions.

A video of the chilling incident went viral on social media, as what appears to be a secret mobile phone camera films the teacher indiscriminately beating a group of students in the school ground with a wooden stick.

In the 1 minute 36 seconds clip recorded through mobile, the teacher was torturing students aged between eight to 10 years.

In the video, the students continue to cry and attempt to run away but the teacher does not stop the beatings.

The National Assembly in 2013 unanimously adopted a bill providing up to one-year imprisonment and up to Rs 50,000 penalty for the person found guilty of inflicting corporal punishment on children.

The bill was aimed at protecting dignity of the children as human rights.

Edgbaston Test: Misbah sends England in to bat after winning toss

BIRMINGHAM: Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday elected to bowl first against Alastair Cook-led England in the third of the four-Test series here.

Coming into the match after a 330-run drubbing at Old Trafford, the Pakistan Test skipper has made two changes in the line-up.

Twenty-year-old opener Sami Aslam replaces Shan Masood and Wahab Riaz makes way for right-arm fast-bowler Sohail Khan.

England were forced to make a change as Ben Stokes, who pulled his hamstring during the Old Trafford Test, was replaced by Steven Finn.

Pitch and Weather: The picturesque Edgbaston ground has been under a heavy cloud cover over the past few days, with reports of irregular showers coming in a day ago.

The last time the two Test nations contested in the longer format here, Pakistan were bowled out for a paltry 72 in the first innings that inspired Andrew Strauss-led England to a nine-wicket victory.

Teams

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali

England’s home Test record

This will be England’s 500th home Test. Here’s England’s overall home Test record, a sequence of matches dating back to 1880:

  • Played: 499
  • Won: 206
  • Lost: 115
  • Drawn: 178

PTI wants Japanese cartoon series ‘Doraemon’ banned

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly calling for a ban on popular Japanese manga and anime series Doraemon.

The resolution urges Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ban cartoon channels in general, and Doraemon in particular. Submitted by PTI lawmaker Malik Taimoor, the resolution also suggests limiting the hours of cartoon channels.

It is not clear from the resolution what PTI’s beef with Doraemon is, but it said channels exclusive to cartoons were having a harmful impact on children.

A quintessential rebel

LEFTISTS are an extinct species in Pakistan’s politics today. The word socialism is completely missing from the existing political lexicon. This is a complete reversal of the ideologically polarised politics of the 1960s and ’70s. That was an era of revolutionary idealism sweeping the world, and it also influenced Pakistan’s younger generation hugely.

Those days of street agitation and popular mass movements produced many firebrand young leftist leaders, amongst the most prominent of them being Mairaj Mohammad Khan. The death of the quintessential rebel on July 22 brought to a close a beautiful chapter of relentless struggle for a socialist ideal. A fighter all his life, he never gave up hope.

I last saw him just few weeks ago in Karachi at a memorial service for another comrade, Dr Rasheed Hasan Khan, who also passed away recently. Rasheed belonged to the same generation of socialist revolutionaries and succeeded Mairaj as the president of the National Students Federation (NSF). Both were leaders of the 1968 mass movement that brought down Gen Ayub Khan’s military rule.


Few in Pakistani politics could match Mairaj Mohammad Khan in public speaking when he was in his prime.


Ignoring the strict advice of his doctor, Mairaj came to the meeting to pay homage to his old comrade-in-arms even though the two had parted ways long ago because of ideological differences that caused huge damage to the leftist movement in Pakistan. While Rasheed was a hardliner and a doctrinal socialist, Mairaj was more pragmatic. Both had suffered prison and hardship but neither ever compromised.

Veteran politician Mairaj Mohammad Khan in conversation with Murtaza Bhutto.— White Star Archives
Veteran politician Mairaj Mohammad Khan in conversation with Murtaza Bhutto.— White Star Archives

Mairaj looked frail and could barely walk without support yet he spoke for more than 30 minutes with the same eloquence and zeal that used to once electrify the masses. His belief remained unflinching despite the long illness that restricted his political activities. Mairaj was not an ideologue or a thinker but a powerful orator and an agitator. Few in Pakistani politics could match him in public speaking when he was in his prime.

I met Mairaj when I was a student at the University of Karachi and an active member of the NSF. By then, he had left student politics and joined Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had just resigned from the Ayub Khan government. The section of the left to which we all belonged was attracted to Bhutto’s slogan of socialism. Mairaj was one of the founder members of the PPP. Though not fully trusting of Bhutto, the left thought that they would be able to keep the party on the socialist track.

There was, however, no clear thinking behind the decision to support the PPP. There was complete confusion over whether to take part in the elections or not. Bhutto offered Mairaj and several other leftist members party tickets to contest the 1970 elections, and Mairaj argued in favour of participating in the elections. Bhutto even nominated Mairaj his successor. Yet this isolationism and confusion cost the left dearly.

Mairaj was among few in the PPP who opposed the military operation in the then East Pakistan that ultimately led to the break-up of the country. When Bhutto took over power in a truncated country, Mairaj was appointed minister of state. But he was not to stay in the Cabinet for long. The ruthless suppression of a strike by factory workers in Karachi in 1972 left Mairaj with no choice but to resign. The quintessential rebel was back on the streets protesting against his own party’s government. Inevitably, the confrontation landed him in jail.

Ironically, the left that had played a significant role in Bhutto’s rise to power became the main target of state oppression during the PPP regime. Mairaj was released along with other political prisoners after the military takeover. Those years in prison took a huge toll on Mairaj’s health.

Coming out from prison he formed the Quami Mahaz-e-Azadi party but it failed to have any significant impact. Fragmented and demoralised, the left had lost a lot of ground by then. Student and labour organisations had disintegrated or lost its power because of factionalism and the lack of any ideological guidance. This situation was not confined to Pakistan; the decline of the left was an across-the-world phenomenon.

Gen Ziaul Haq’s long, retrogressive military rule and state patronage of militant Islam further shrank the space for leftist and progressive politics. Universities and other educational institutions were purged of progressive elements. Student and labour unions were clamped down upon and freedom of expression was curtailed in the name of so-called ‘national interest’. The enforcement of so-called Islamic laws reinforced obscurantism in society, discouraging any enlightened discourse. The Afghan resistance war against Soviet occupation gave rise to a new ‘jihadi’ culture that threatened to tear apart the nation’s social fabric. Escalation in sectarian and religion-based violence made it much more difficult for the left to mobilise mass support.

The return of the civilian democratic process following the death of Gen Zia did not change the situation much. There was hardly any organised force on the left that could regain some political space. In too short a time, the democratic process was once again derailed by yet another military takeover, one that met with hardly any resistance.

Frustrated by this situation, some remnant of the left took refuge in other political parties. Mairaj merged his party with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led by Imran Khan. That was perhaps his biggest political blunder, one that he always regretted. After being forced to leave the PTI, Mairaj was never able to revive his own Quami Mahaz-e-Azadi party. His deteriorating health too would not allow him to give full time to politics. What was missing, however, was a clear ideological basis necessary to mobilise public support.

Although he had been seriously ill for more than 10 years, Mairaj’s contact with the people never ceased. His last speech at Karachi’s PMA House in May epitomised the courage of his conviction. Mairaj is no longer with us, but his memory lives on.

The writer is an author and journalist.

zhussain100@yahoo.com

Twitter:@hidhussain

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2016

Of the roasted corncobs on the way to Malam Jabba

MINGORA: Before reaching the top of Malam Jabba ski resort, tourists pass through a thick forest on a zigzag road, where dozens of cold water springs, cool breeze and green pastures leave them in awe.

Their excitement doubles when they suddenly catch the smell of roasted corncobs sold by a boy at his roadside shed.

Garnished with salt, chili powder and lemon juice, roasted corncobs is the snack tourists love to munch on in the chilly weather and heavenly environment.

“When we reached here, the atmosphere forced us to take a pause and enjoy the serenity and beauty of the area. Enjoying the natural beauty, we smelt roasting corncobs so we’d them,” Kamran Zia, a tourist from Faisalabad, said.

He said cool chilly weather was the best time to eat roasted corncob.

“Taste of the roasted corncobs sold here is different. I’ve found them more delicious than what I eat in my hometown possibly due to local environment,” said Ishrat Usman, a tourist from Peshawar.

The earnings of corncob seller Ayanullah, member of a poor family, is the major source of his family’s livelihood.

“On average, I earn from Rs300 to Rs500 daily and most of it is used to buy food for family,” he said.

The child complained about his erratic income and said high sales were seen in the summer season when tourists showed up in large numbers.

“The tourist season lasts three months at maximum. Thereafter, I take up the hard job of a labourer. I enjoy smiles on the faces of tourists approaching me for roasted corncobs,” he said.

The child said he always prayed for a huge influx of tourists during the summer season for better earnings.

He said most of his clients belonged to Punjab and majority of them were women.