Pakistan's school syllabus needs to be 'purged of extremist content'

ISLAMABAD - Social activists and parliamentarians on Friday called for purging the school syllabus of extremist contents.

The speakers from various political and social backgrounds and religions demanded the government eradicate extremism from the educational system.

The speakers at the national caucus, 'Quota issues and resource reservation for non-Muslim communities in Pakistan', called for making 'Ethics' as a compulsory subject for all students.

At present, the subject is being taught to non-Muslim students in place of Islamic Studies.

Asia Nasir, a JUI-F MNA, said there was political discrimination in the past as a result "we lost a part of the country on December 16, 1971.

Then there was radicalisation of the education system and we faced the gruesome school attack in Peshawar on December 16, 2014."

She said Pakistan was made by the minorities of South Asia as they feared that the majority community was not fair with them.

"But now they are facing the same situation in Pakistan," the Christian MNA from the JUI-F added.

PTI minority MPA, Shanila Rooth, said reforms were needed in the educational system.

"There is a law under which only Muslims can get admission to the Punjab Vocational Training Council Institutes," she said.

She said non-Muslims had been kept out of the 170 technical training centres because they were run through the Zakat fund.

However, the centres also received foreign, mainly European, funding, she added.

"There was a time when Christians in Pakistan were seen as an educated segment of society but now their status has been reduced to sanitary workers," Ms Rooth said.

Eminent poet Kishwar Naheed said Pakistani society was not a bunch of radicals.

"With or without niqab, all of us are part of this society," she said.

She said there was a need to look into the school books, as Islamic Studies and social studies are almost the same.

"These teachings were leading towards making suicide bombers," she added.