The already weak education system under attack in Balochistan

Background

Education is one of the basic rights of human being. Education & literacy rates are considered the basic unit of human development. The same are also adopted internationally by UN and other development institutions with a joint resolution to meet Millennium Development Goals including literacy parameters to eradicate poverty and achieve true economic development. Pakistan is a signatory of the same resolution. However, the reality on the ground shows that Pakistan is depriving Baloch this basic right with a systematic destruction of education institutions and educational infrastructure in Balochistan.

Although, it’s not possible to gauge the full depth of the deteriorating education system in Balochistan due to travel restrictions, total media blackout because of the ongoing conflict between native Baloch and law enforcement forces of Pakistan, this report attempts to highlight how tragic and grave the  situation is. Balochistan has become a war zone and around 70% areas in Balochistan are out of reach for collecting exact data and information. This report has been  compiled based on Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB) own sources and certain local leads from the affected areas and social media reports. The media reports are 2-3-years old and situation has deteriorated much worse since then. This report pens down the numbers of instances when educational institutions and libraries attacked, burned or forcibly closed. It also records the  attacks or threats to women students, cases of some well-known educationists murdered, and especially schools occupied and turn into military camps by the Pakistan forces.

Current Situation Analysis

Balochistan is the largest province accounting for around 44% of the land mass but is the most backward area of Pakistan in terms of socio economic indicators. The Literacy Rate in the Province is only 43% (Male 55% and Female 25%) lowest as compared to comparison with other provinces in Pakistan. Balochistan has only 7 public and 1 private universities as compared to 66 public universities in Punjab. These public universities in Balochistan are also facing many problems due to the lack of basic facilities and pressures from the law enforcement agencies of the state. Many checkpoints have been set up at the entrances of the universities. The students are insulted and harassed on daily basis. They are also investigated and their books and other stuff are inspected at the gate of the Universities. This practice of harassment by the forces has been pushing or compelling many students to leave the universities.

According to the Government of Balochistan and UNESCO, the province has 97 colleges in different districts. But as per HRCB obtained information, many of these listed colleges are   dysfunctional and under occupation of the forces. To quote some examples, the Inter Colleges of Awaran and Mashkay are not functional since 2013 and both institutions are occupied by law enforcement agencies

There are 11,178 primary, 1400 middle and 917 high schools in Balochistan. Many of them are under occupation and turned into military/paramilitary camps. The list of schools school forcibly occupied by forces is given in section of this report.

The educational institutions lacks basic facilities as per HRCB sources around 80% middle schools have no science rooms, 500 high schools have no laboratories. Majority of the primary schools lacks basic amenities like water, proper washrooms and electricity. Even as per a report from Government of Balochistan sources, over 1.8 million students are out of school in the province. About 6% of total schools are without buildings and 2000 have no proper building with roofs. There are around 3000 ghost schools (i.e school which exist only in government official records but doesn’t exist in reality) and more than 5000 ghost teachers were reported by different NGOs and many of them are confirmed by the officials of the Government of Balochistan.

Female Literacy and Education Facilities 

The ratio of female literacy only 26% overall in the province (only 2% in rural areas). The drop out ratio for girls after primary education is around 70% in Balochistan and 90% of girls in rural Balochistan remain unschooled as a former member of the public Service Commission remarks reported in Express tribune.

To aggravate the situation further, the girl students have been facing deadly threats and attacks from different extremist groups stopping then attending schools. Many cases were reported but the government seems inactive and silent to protest students and stop the harassment from the religious extremist groups. In June 2013, the students of the only women university in the province, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University in Quetta, was attacked by a suicide bomber resulting 25 deaths and dozens casualties.

In May 2016, an extremist group, namely Tanzeem-ul-Islami-ul-Furqan, threatened to close all private and girls schools in the Panjgur District. This incident led to closure of at least 35 private schools and 30 language centers in Panjgur and Turbat districts for well over a week as per Mohammad Ayub, a local education official quoted in Reuter report. Below picture (Figure 1) show a copy of pamphlet published and distributed by extremist group.

Figure 1

On the other hand, religious Madrassa are thriving in the province where young students are brainwashed by these extremist groups as per their agenda. The curriculums in Madrassa are full of hatred and extremely dangerous propaganda materials against the Baloch nationalism in particular and against the civilized world in general. The existence and mushroom growth of these religious schools, replacing the proper schools, will be dangerous if not controlled immediately.

Murder Cases of Well-known Educationists 

Ali Jan

Ali Jan Baloch

Ali Jan Baloch was a resident of Daaru Kucha Village of Jhao in District Awaran, Balochistan. He was a teacher of the Primary School in his home village and the founder of the only private and registered English Medium Middle School (Sunrise School) in the area.

The School was located in Kohado Village, five to ten minutes’ drive from his home. It was inaugurated in 2003 and was operating by the donations of residents of the areas nearby the school. Mr. Ali was killed by Pakistani forces during an attack on his home at early morning on 20 April 2013. The school was forcibly closed after his murder.

The Sunrise School also had a library with thousands of books on Baloch and world history, Baloch culture, civilizations, fiction and other topics. Pakistani forces broken into the library, confiscated books and destroyed it.

Ali himself has a personal library and a stock of discovered artifacts and other historical items unearthed from the historical sites which he collected to save them from heavy rains and other natural disasters at his house. These were seized and destroyed on the same day.

Professor Saba Dashtyari 

Prof. Saba Dashtyari

Prof. Saba Dashtyari was a Baloch scholar and a professor at University of Balochistan. Saba contributed tremendously in the collection of literary work by authoring more than 24 books on Balochi literature, history, poetry and translations. He was also a poet and his love for books and development for Balochi literary work can be gauged from the fact that he was the founder of the biggest Baloch reference library, Sayad Zahoor Shah Reference Library, located in Malir, Karachi. He collected more than 150,000 books on Baloch history, literature and civilization for the library. He was shot dead in Saryab Road, Quetta by un-identified gunmen while he was on routine jogging along with a student of him on 1st June 2011. All fingers were pointed towards the government agencies for his murder as he was ardent campaigner for Baloch rights and critic of the government with thousands of young student followers. The library was also come under attack by unknown persons in January 2016 where someone broke into library and damaged the shelves and books were ransacked.

Zahid Askani

Zahid Askani

Zahid Askani was a foreign educated teacher and educationist who studied from Appleton University, Wisconsin, USA. He was originally from Panjgur district and was the founders and principle of the Oasis School system, a co-education institution and English language centre, established first in Panjgur and then branches were also opened in Gwadar district of Balochistan.

He was one of the few educationists who tried to introduce and establish the private modern education system in Balochistan. He campaigned hard to spread modern education as against the religious schools or madrassas and received considerable success in their struggle both in Panjgur and Gwadar district with successful branches of the schools despite many restriction and opposition from religious parties. He was killed by again un-identified gunmen on his way to the school in Gwadar on 04 December 2014. The state backed extremists group who threaten to close down English medium coeducation schools in Panjgur district were allegedly involve in his murder.

Rasool Jan

Rasool Jan

Rasool Jan was a student at Atta Shad Degree College Turbat and a teacher at a private English language centre, Dynamic English Language Teaching Academy- DELTA. He was a resident of Sehr Village in Kolwah area of Kech district.

There are no educational institutions in Rasool Jan’s area. He was one of the few who managed to move to Turbat for studies and tried to convince the youth of the area to follow him in pursuit of higher education.

Kolwa was the main spot for the drug dealers where international renowned and US wanted dealer, Imam Bill, was operating his business. Imam’s gang always tried to push the youth of the area towards drug use and business. When Rasool Jan and his friends started a campaign for the awareness of education and other healthy activities in the youth of the area, they became in the hit list of both drug mafia and state forces.

He was abducted along with 13 other teenage students from a residential quarter in Turbat city on 06 Jan 2014 (list of students in below picture – figure 2). All students were released with deadly warning after two days but Rasool Jan was kept in secret torture cells until he was killed in a fake encounter and his body along with 4 other dead bodies of Baloch abductees was handed over to Turbat Civil Hospital on 15 April 2015. Another teacher, Asghar Ali was among the murdered in this incident. Mr. Asghar was abducted at D Baloch checkpoint of FC while he was on his way home on December 1, 2011.

Figure 2

Systematic Attacks of Educational Institutions & Libraries 

Forced Occupation of Educational Institutions

An official letter issued on the subject of non-functional schools has leaked out from the Education Department of Kech District and circulated on Social Media (Figure 3). The letter was written to The Director of Education (Schools) Balochistan Quetta by the District Education Officer Kech at Turbat Office on 13 October 2017. The letter is not only a strong proof of occupied and non-functional schools but also substantiate the fact that people has become Internally Displaced in mass numbers due to brutalities of the security forces in Balochistan.

Figure 3

The letter lists names of schools in Hoshab, Dasht and other areas which are non-functional due to either forceful occupation of the school by security agencies or migration of local people to other areas to avoid the conflict zone. The mass migration of local populace is direct consequence of the presence of the forces and their indiscriminate brutalities in the areas.

According to locals of the areas and HRCB own sources, the letter mentioned does not cover the full list of non-functional and occupied schools. There are many more schools which converted into military camps or checkpoints and many more became non-functional due of lack of basic facilities and forced migration of inhabitants.

Below is the list of schools mentioned in the letter:

  1. Govt Boys Primary School (GBPS) Madah Kalat in Hoshab Tehsil are occupied by the forces.
  2. GBPS Gamok in Hoshab under occupation of the forces.
  3. GBPS Jath Kolwa in Hoshab occupied
  4. GBPS Bedrung in Hoshab occupied
  5. GBPS Shapkol in Hoshab occupied
  6. GB Middle S Nairab Gatey Dap in Hoshab under occupation
  7. GBPS Gowand Saren in Hoshab under occupation
  8. GB High S Dandar in Hoshab under occupation
  9. G Girls PS Parkotag in Hoshab under occupation
  10. GBPS Saguk Hamid Bazar in Hoshab non-function due to migration
  11. GBPS Saguk Phullan Bazar in Hoshab non-function due to migration
  12. GBPS Piddi Lal Mohammad Bazar in Hoshab non-function due to migration
  13. GBPS Kunari Kolwa Bazar in Hoshab non-function but according locals and our sources its also under occupation of the forces.
  14. GBPS Badolak in Hoshab non-function
  15. GBPS Rodsar in Dasht non-function
  16. GBPS Ziarathi in Dasht non-function
  17. GBMS Langasi in Dasht non-function
  18. GBHS Zarin Bug in Dasht non-function
  19. GGHS Zarin Bug in Dasht non-function

DELTA Language Centre 

Dynamic English Language Teaching Centre- DELTA was located in Turbat district Kech. It was the most famous and one of oldest English language centres in Makran division. It was also the first English Language centre where students were taught English with a translation technique with Balochi, mother tongue of most of the students. The center was ordered to close down in January 2014 but reopened in October of the same year. However, the administration of the centre was ordered to stop its free Balochi Language Classes which they tantamount as a terrorist act.

It is worth mentioning here that this center was a stepping stone for thousands of students who qualified and continue their education at main colleges and universities and ranked among top of the students. The students of this center later sought their PhDs and some of them passed CSS, PCS and now serving highest positions in civil bureaucracy and other fields.

DELTA centre was also inculcating the values of culture, literature, music and other healthy activities as part of the curriculum and organized many shows and events. The centre was targeted and many teachers and students were abducted including Rasool Jan and Kambar Chakar whose mutilated bodies were found later. The center was forcibly closed and its entire building was demolished on 03 June 2017.

Harassment of Students in Libraries 

Balochistan University Library

Figure 4

The only library, Quaid-e-Azum Library in University of Balochistan with 450 seating arrangement, has no sufficient space to accommodate thousands of students of University. It is almost a common practice for law enforcement to stop search and harass students visiting the library on daily basis. Baloch Students are lined outside of the Library to security clarification to enter into the Library (Figure 4).

 

 

 

Atta Shad College Library

Figure 5

The library at Atta Shad College was raided and it’s all books were seized in January 2014. Picture shows the Pakistani Forces showing seized books to Media.(Figure 5)

 

 

 

Other Incidents

The following list and pictures cover many other incidents of systematic attacks on education entities in Balochistan:

  • Two bookshops closed and books seized by Pakistan Police in Gwadar in April 2014. The picture show (Figure 6) some of the books confiscated as anti-Pakistan during the raid.

Figure 6

  • In September 2016, a bookshop, Pak News Agency, was raided and books were confiscated and forcibly closed in Turbat Balochistan.
  • A library in Zarrainbug burned down and books were taken in April 2015. (local sources)
  • District Awaran’s only highest educational institution, Inter College Awaran, was occupied after the disastrous earthquake in October 2013.

The sport ground of Intermediate College Awaran, now being used for Army parades as shown in the picture.

  • Siraj Baloch

    Middle School Ladh Bazdad, Awaran converted into a military camp in 2013.One of the students, Siraj Baloch (age 20), was abducted in killed in Ganda Kour area of Kolwah, Awaran in 13 May 2017

 

 

 

 

  • Nasir Ali

    Middle School Gazzi Peerander was attacked during an operation on December 01 2015. School watchman Nasir Ali was killed in the incident.

  • High School in Main Bazar of Geeshkor converted into Army camp after three

    Khuda Bakhsh

    day of earthquake in 2013. One of teacher, Khuda Bakhsh(45), was summoned to attend a meeting at the camp on 11 February 2015 and his mutilated dead body was found in Khuzdar on 03 march 2015. The school is being used by Pakistan Army and students forcibly being brainwashed and getting training of weapons with the slogan of Allah O Akbar there.

 

 

Above pictures (Figure 7 & 8) depicts students being introduced with weapons by the forces at High School Geeshkor.

  • Figure 9

    The Girl High School in Mashkey Gajjar (Figure 9) is being used by Pakistan army as their camp since 2013.

 

 

List of educational centers occupied and/or destroyed by the forces

  • Inter College Awaran
    • The Sport ground of Inter College Awaran is being used by the Army as parade ground.
  • Middle School Ladh Bazdad, Awaran
    • Middle School Ladh Bazdad was turned into a military camp in 2013. Siraj Baloch (20) was one of the students of the school. He was abducted and killed near Ganda Kour area of Kolwah, Awaran on 13 May 2017.
  • Middle School Gazzi Peerander
    • Middle School Gazzi Peerander was occupied by the forces during a military operation. Watchman of the school Nasir Ali (28) was killed by firing by the security forces on 01, December 2015.
  • High School Main Bazaar Geshkor

High School Main Bazaar Geshkor

High School in Main Bazaar Geshkor was converted into a military camp three days after the earthquake in 2013. Khuda Bakhsh (45), a teacher of the school, was summoned to attend a meeting in the school turned military camp and was detained by the forces on 11, February 2015. On 03, March 2015 his mutilated body was found dumped in Khuzdar, Balochistan. Moreover, the school is being used by the forces to brainwash the students and forcefully provide weapon training to them. Slogans such as ALLAH O AKBAR, can be heard often from the school.  

  • The Girl High School, Mashkey Gajjar
    •  The Girl High School in Mashkey Gajjar is being used by Pakistani Army as their military camp since 2013.

A checkpoint of Pakistan Army over The Girls High School in Mashkey Gajjar

  • Boys High School Dandar
    • Boys High School Dandar is located in Hoshab, district Kech, Balochistan. It was first captured and convrtd into a military camp after the 2013 earthquake and later after two years in 2015, the Army left the school. It was re-captured by the Army on 15 September 2017.

Students can be seen demolishing Army Garrison after the first occupation – Boys High School Dandar

  • High School Paroom Jahain
    • Pakistan Army have been and still is forcing the students to be present at the school daily. The army is teaching the students their own Army curriculum. High School Paroom Jahain in district Panjgur was occupied by the forces in 2016.

Schools converted into Military camps in Paroom, Panjgur

  • Shikaari Village Panjgur
    • In Shikaari Village of district Panjgur, there aren’t any schools at all. Local residents teach their children in the open sky but they have been receiving Death threats to stop teaching the children without the permission of the Army.

Unschooled children of Shikaari Village in district Panjgur

  • Private English Center Jahain Paroom
    • A private English center in Jahain, Paroom district Panjgur was closed and turned into a military camp by Pakistani Army.

A classroom of Private English Center Jahain before the occupation

  • Girls School in Buleda, Balochistan
    •  A local Girl School in Buleda, Balochistan was burned in February 2014.

Burned Girls School in Buleda Balochistan

  • Private English Language Center
    • In September 2014, a private English language center was burned in Balnigwar area of district Kech. The computers, books in the library and furniture were destroyed. The responsibility was claimed by Al Jihad, an unknown extremist militant group. (https://www.dawn.com/news/1129567)          
  • Kenechi Primary School
    • Kenechi Primary School I situated in Kolwah area of district Kech. It was occupied by the forces in September 2017
  • Bolan Medical College (BMC)
    • Sport Complex of the only medical college in Balochistan was captured and is being used as a military camp since October 2016.
  • Suwali Bazaar Geshkor Middle School
    • Suwali Bazaar Geshkor Middle School was occupied and the students were threatened to stop going into the school in 2013
  • The Only Inter College Mashkey
    •  It has been under Pakistan Army’s control since October 2013
  • Malaar Middle School
    • Malaar Middle School was occupied by the forces after the earthquake in 2013 and later the army left but the students are still afraid to go in the school.
  • Primary School of Sistagán, Jhao
    • Primary School of Sistagán is located in Jhao, Awaran, the village of ex district Nazum of Awaran, Mr. Khair Jan. He served twice in the tenure of General Musharraf’s dictatorship in Pakistan. It was also occupied by the Army and turned into a military camp.
  • The High School Zeelag
    • It is located in Jhao, district Awaran and was occupied by the forces in 2015.
  • High School Kórrak
    • It is located in Jhao, district Awaran. It was occupied by the Army and then left after a few months but since the occupation students are afraid to go there.
  • High School Sáhakí
    • High School Sáhakí is located in Balgater area of district Panjgur. It also among the schools occupied by the Army in Balochistan.
  • Shay Zangi Primary School & Hospital
    • Shay Zangi Primary School & Hospital is situated in Dasht, district Kech, Balochistan. Both were occupied and turned into military camps by Pakistan Army.
  • Machat Middle School & Hospital
    • Machat Middle School and Hospital in Dasht, district Kech were occupied and turned into military checkpoint.
  • Drachko Middle School
    • Drachko Middle School in Dasht, district Kech is changed into a military checkpoint.
  • Jan Mohammad Village Middle School
    • It was occupied and changed into a military checkpoint by Pakistan Army.
  • Shapkol Primary School
    • Shapkol Primary School is situated in Kolwah, district Kech and was occupied in August 2017
  • Aashál Primary school
    • Aashál Primary school is located in Kolwah, district Kech and Pakistan Army took control over it in August 2017.
  • Kade Hotel Primary School
    • Kade Hotel Primary School is situated in Kolwah, district Kech and now is being used as a camp of Pakistan Army since August 2017.
  • Bedring Middle School
    • Bedring Middle School is located in Kolwah, district Kech and was occupied by the forces on December 04, 2017.
  • Primary School Jat
    • Primary School Jat in Kolwah, district Kech was captured by the forces during a military operation on the area on 08 August 2017.
  • High School Siyahdam Daz Middle School
    • Daz Middle School was occupied by the forces. The forces demolished the school and left. High School Siyahdam, including several houses in Siyahdam village of Gechk, district Panjgur were occupied by the forces on 15 October 2017.

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