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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions



Female literacy in the tribal regions of KP. It also has notes on COVID-19 status, Baldia factory fire (that it was not an accident), problems in implementing Child marriage act, illegal domicile in Balochistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

Education and the fate of tribal women of ex-Fata
The Opinion article by Wadood Afridi raises a question regarding the appalling female literacy rate in the ex-FATA tribal districts – “is women’s education a pipedream in ex-Fata?” Afridi says that despite the country’s constitution binding the federal state to ensure compulsory and free education to all citizens through the Article 25A, the ground reality is far from this in ex-FATA where illiteracy rates of women are appauling. (“Educating Fata,” The News International, 7 July 2020)
 
The Statistics
Ex-Fata’s female literacy rate is 7.8 per cent, far below Pakistan’s national average. According to the report by an NGO Shaoor Foundation, 14.7 per cent of total female population between 3 and 13 years of age had never been enrolled in school. In 2017, Fata annual education census said that as less as 37 per cent of girls were attending primary school and 5 per cent secondary school; in comparison with 49 per cent and 17 per cent of boys attending primary and secondary schools respectively. In 2018, the daily Dawn reported the quitting of primary schools by 79 per cent girls in the region; a 2 per cent increase from the corresponding 77 per cent reported by Alif Ailaan’s report in mid-2016. (“0.5m girls out of school in FATA,” The Express Tribune, 26 September 2017) (“22.6m Pakistani children still out of school: report,” Dawn, 9 March 2017)
 
Reasons
Afridi cites lack of monitoring system, lack of discipline, unprofessional attitudes and behaviors of teachers, need for long travels by teachers, inadaptability of older teachers to teach the new syllabi, lack of higher secondary schools and colleges, non-availability of school buildings, non-functionality of existing schools as reasons for illiteracy to thrive in the area. Low retention rate, militancy and displacements also pose a serious threat. (“Female education in Fata at the lowest: survey,” Dawn, 16 August 2014) Education Specialist Sumbal Naveed identifies three issues in this regard: first, broader purpose of educating girls; second, transport facilities for distant schools; and third, contextual variations by district. Sumbal says that five issues must be differently approached and appraised to tackle gender-specific barriers in the education sector: “infrastructure planning, incentives to meet education expenses, recruitment of female teachers, training and capacity building for teachers, and monitoring and governance of girls’ schools”. (“Why do Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas have such a high gender gap in education?,” Brookings, 31 July 2018)
 
Societal issues
Sumbal calls for “multi-stakeholder opportunities to reduce the gender gap in education, employment opportunities for girls, quiet transformation of community beliefs and men’s support for girls”. Meanwhile, Afridi’s article also holds the society engulfed in patriarchal customs, tribal codes, social norms and traditions responsible for the pitiable state of women’s education in the region. He argues that only a collective governmental and societal approach can rectify the problem. (“Educating girls is a must in the Newly Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan,” Brookings, 5 November 2018)
 
Recommendations
A Brookings policy paper suggests strengthening education planning using current data, developing strong monitoring and governance structures and engaging local communities and partnering with different sectors as ways to tackle the issue of low female literacy in ex-FATA. (“The importance of educating girls in the Newly Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan,” Brookings, November 2018)
 
Also read:
The long road to female education in tribal areas,” Dawn, 25 June 2017
Contextualization Of Women’s Right To Education In Tribal Perspective: Study Of Masid Tribe,” City University Research Journal, 2017


In Brief

COVID-19
Is Smart lockdown really working?
With the decreasing cases in the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan on his recent visit to NCOC has asked for stricter implementation of SOPs, as Eidul Azha approaches. Considering the quick transmission of coronavirus and an increase in cases in other countries, it is surprising that Pakistan's cases are decreasing. As per the recent report by BBC Urdu, the number of burial figures in the major cities recorded has increased compared to the previous year data. According to an official, it is likely that some of the increased deaths may be due coronavirus and the families may be hiding it. (“Slowing trajectory?”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)
 
Increase in COVID-19 cases 
The country has reported 2629 cases and 73 deaths in the past 24 hours. On 06 July, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) said, the number of deaths had increased in the country contrary to government projection. PML-N spokesperson said, ‘the disease cannot be curbed unless the real data will be shared with the stakeholder”. (“2629 covid-19 cases, 73 deaths reported in single day”, Dawn, 07 July)
 
INTERNAL
Baldia Factory Fire No Accident
With Sindh government publicizing the Baldia Factory Fire report, it is clear that that occurrence was a “blatant act of terrorism” and not an accident. It was an extortion attempt that went disastrously wrong. The author says that a report of such an incient mustn’t take eight long years to be declassified. The lack of immediate action has caused the orchestrator Hamad Siddiqui, former in-charge of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee to be an absconder till date. The article says that the incident will always remain a mark of the dark era of Karachi. (“A Blatant Act Of Terrorism,” The Nation, 7 July 2020)

Baldia factory and Uzair Baloch report by Joint Investigation team
On 06 July, a joint investigation team report of the killing of 259 people in Baldia factory and Uzair Baloch, was made public by the Sindh government. The report suggested charges on Hammad Siddqui head of Karachi Tanzeemi Committee and seven others for the Baldia factory, as per the report it was a “planned sabotage/terror activity” took place over non-payment of Rs 200 million extortion money. Uzair Baloch report confirms the “confessing the killing of 198 people on the ethnic and political ground in gang warfare” (“Baldia factory fire planned for terror: JIT”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)

Illegal domiciles in Balochistan 
It has been recorded, people outside Balochistan has secured a federal and provincial department in the province, with domiciles acquired by illegal means. Balochistan governor retired justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai said, ‘all those people who have secured government jobs in the province with the illegal domicile should be dismissed’. Deputy commissioner of Mastung’s has cancelled around 400 domiciles after the verification. (“Process begins to cancel illegal domiciles of Balochistan”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)
 
SSM wants PTI to fulfil promise of Seraiki province
On 6 July, during a press conference, Seraikistan Suba Mahaz chairman Khawaja Ghulam Farid Koreja, co-chairman Zahor Dhreeja urged the government to create the PTI promised Seraiki province. The said SSM was an alliance of seven nationalist parties; called SPAS an eyewash which would soon fail; and demanded government constitution of Parliamentary Commission dedicated to new provinces as per the mandate. (“PTI urged to fulfil promise of creationof Seraiki province,” The News International, 7 July 2020)
 
Problems of Child Marriage Act
The article speaks of the incapability of the Child Marriage Restraint Act and Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments to put a check on child marriage and elopement. In the context of elopements and conversions of minor non-Muslim girls, Sulema Jahangir raises a legitimate question “should the Muslim rule of puberty as the age of consent to marriage also apply to non-Muslims?” The issues of sex under 16 years being statutory rape, marital rape, divorce, absence of any age-limit in issues concerning marriage, religious conversion and divorce are appraised in the background of Islamic rulings and International law. (“Age of consent,” Dawn, 7 July 2020)
 
Media under the PTI
Pemra (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) suspended the broadcast licence of Channel 24 citing licensing issues. The channel management said, ‘they are closing transmission because they cannot face “blackmailing” from the government.’ The state pressure has led to self-censorship, muted critiques, increased job losses and the threat of physical violence, everything under the ambit of democracy. (“Pressure on Media”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)
 
Pakistan Railway authorities called upon for track safety  
Lack of investment and mismanagement has failed the oldest transportation functioning in the country. The train driver’s association has called for a focus on “rehabilitation of the train tracks for the safety of passengers, line staff and rolling stock”. The association also warned for protest ‘if the drivers are asked to operate without ensuring the regular repair’.  (“Railway Revamp”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)
 
Government knocks for the Council of Islamic Ideology for construction of Hindu temple in Islamabad
On 06 July, Islamabad High Court Justice Aamer Farooq reserved decision on the petition against constructing a Hindu temple. The Minister of Religious Affairs, for guidance, has decided to forward the matter,  of giving official grants for construction of the Hindu temple, to the  Council of Islamic Ideology. Tehreek-i-Nifaz Fiqh Jafaria has supported the construction saying, ‘the Hindu temple in Islamabad should not be made controversial’. (“IHC reserves verdict on petitions against construction of temple”, Dawn, 07 July 2020)
 
CPEC
Azad Pattan hydropower project signed under CPEC 
On 06 July, recent agreement for the construction of ‘Azad Pattan hydropower project’ on Jhelum river, under CPEC was signed with China Gezhouba. Prime Minister Imran Khan said, ‘CPEC will be a ‘game-changer’ for the motherland, bringing unprecedented prosperity and progress to the country’. The project will foster investment of $1.5 billion and will enable the country to shift toward a ‘cheaper and greener’ power with no fuel import. It is expected to complete by 2026. (“Agreement for $1.5 hydropower project signed”, Dawn, 07 July 2020) (“Our economic future links to completion of CPEC projects:PM”, The Nation, 07 July 2020)
 
EXTERNAL
India-China escalation and the Asian age
The article says that recent escalation of India-China tensions have dwindled the dream of an Asian-era or “Asia’s rise”. The article foretells a shift of power to another continent. He reminds of the colonial era, the rise of Europe and says that “it is ironic that, instead of heaping scorn on the colonisers, India and China are engaged in trading allegations and vowing to decimate one another.” Cooperation between the two would lead to the rise of Asia, the author argues. (“Sino-India tensions,” The News International, 7 July 2020)


"“It (CPEC) is a project that will take Pakistan to new heights [of prosperity]...Pakistan can learn with the progress made by emerging economic power, China, during the last 30 years...Earlier, the CPEC was confined to road connectivity, but now other aspects of the corridor are being unfolded,”."

-  Imran Khan on the CPEC (Dawn)

 

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