Atanu Dey has been writing about the “importance of education in the third world”:http://www.deeshaa.org/category/education/ – it’s basically the only way to to rise out of poverty, a point which “Nicholas Kristof made recently”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/opinion/13kristof.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin:
bq.. Quick, what’s the source of America’s greatness?
Is it a tradition of market-friendly capitalism? The diligence of its people? The cornucopia of natural resources? Great presidents?
No, a fair amount of evidence suggests that the crucial factor is our school system — which, for most of our history, was the best in the world but has foundered over the last few decades.
p. Pakistan just turned it’s back on this whole education thing by appointing Senator Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani as Minister for Education. This is someone for who an arrest warrant was issued by the Supreme court of Pakistan, for ordering a family to _hand over five minor girls for marriage to a family to compensate for a murder in Jacobabad._
“Adil Najam”:http://pakistaniat.com/2007/08/16/vani-karo-kari-child-marriage-women-violence-pakistan/ writing back in 2007 about one of the Minster of Education’s treasured customs:
bq. The practice of Vani – a custom in which blood feuds are settled with forced marriages, often with minors – is not just criminal it is inhuman. It is not enough to say that we disapprove of this because it ‘brings disgrace to Pakistan’s name.’ We must shout out against practices like Vani, Karo Kari, etc. because it is an outrage against humanity. How can one hear about this without it offending us to the core of our being? How can one not feel one’s essential humanity being violated? This is not about tradition or custom. This is a clear case of viewing women as commodity that can be traded as a ‘currency’ to ‘pay for’ the sins of men. I cannot imagine how it cannot ignite the deepest sense of disgust at the very core of one’s bones.
Senator Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani is well connected, not only to fellow women and childern haters, but to other well connected even more unsavory characters like most of the elected parliamentarians in the country. In other countries, people with outstanding arrest warrants get arrested, here they get made Ministers! The Supreme Court has still not cleared him, and though Bijrani got the arrest warrant voided by a lower court, a lower court can’t over rule the Supreme Court.
When Zardari was elected, a lot of people had hope – yes he’s corrupt, but he is very street smart, and if he applied even some of that to the country he could have achieved a lot.
The last few months have proved other wise – his recent appointments of child haters, drunkards, murderers and other such characters conclusively prove that this government has no intention, let alone any ability, to run a whorehouse let alone this country.
On one hand there is Obama picking out the best possible people for his administration in the US, while here in Pakistan Zardari is picking out the worst possible. Even a chimpanzee would do a far better job as Minister for Education than Senator Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani – unlike the good minister at least the chimp wouldn’t sell of 2 year olds or order 5 year olds to stop going to school and go marry someone.
It isn’t just education – most of the other ministers are equally useless. The last govt. was no better, with a number of criminals and crooks piling up the billions as their tin-pot dictator played at being Lord Almighty of Pakistan.
The entire govt. reminds me of a imaginary story where Al Capone gets out of jail and becomes Mayor of Chicago. The entire world knows it, and even the regular donors are staying away from Pakistan, because it’s increasingly clear that even the aid which doesn’t get stolen will be spent so incompetently that the donor’s might as well not bother.