Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


The School Children Take The Fight.

9 Apr 2010

While the extremist surge is targeted towards the government, one means of causing disruption has been attacking educational institutions, girls schools in particular.

This is a heartfelt account of the bombing at the Islamic University last year, published at iWrite. I found it recently, and it really moved me. I will not bother presenting a summary or quotations. It must be read in its entirety to understand what even young people can go through. I highly recommend reading it.

And while I keep telling my friends at Princeton that all is well, we go to school normally, some students have gone through such direct violence.

I remember quite well when hoax bomb threats began hitting private schools in Lahore. Whether it was a prank, a genuine threat, or targeted terror strikes, no one has figured out yet. While students like me rejoiced over the occasional free day we’d get, the threat was imminent, and real. I remember rumors of how my school had also been threatened but my Principal chose to take a stand and kept it under grabs. We went through school all fine. It was a daring move, but the right thing to do in such a situation. This is how everybody else takes the fight to the war, little acts of resilience that go unnoticed, but are monumental in their own right.

But it hasn’t just been the war on terror that’s affected students. As President Musharraf’s reign neared an end, and emergency rule was imposed, notable Human Rights Activists were arrested to quell down movements to restore rule of law, accountability and democracy. These included many educationalists (that’s a word right?), also my principal, whom I greatly respect. Under no sane law should she have been arrested. Anti Terrorism Attack, Anti Social Behavior, I’m not sure what the government used, but she was innocent, and great.

On the lighter side of things however, when Lawyers took to the streets to restore the judiciary, and here I’m talking about the protests under Musharraf, not the PPP recently some of the students in my school got into a little trouble. Our school uniform had black blazers, and aforementioned student was crossing an intersection when he was held back by a police officer under the impression that he was a lawyer. From what I heard, the police officer said “aap wakilon ne naak mein dam kar ke rakha hua hai (You lawyers have made life a pain for us – again translation not able to get the metaphor across – literally means: You lawyers are really pushing up against our noses). The student got away safely though, but its still quite a legend.