CHITRAL NEWS

      Published daily from Chitral Pakistan

 

Advertise here

 

 Homepage    Editorials     Messages    Obituaries     Weather     Flight Info      My Idea     NewsPapers     Advertise    Contact us

 

 

Readers kindly note that the topic has been closed now.

 

The good, the bad and the Ugly -letter17
 

I am thankful to all those who participated in the debate generated by the article under reference. Contributions by the victims, the perpetrators and the bystanders have greatly helped to clear the haze and the conflicts and would hopefully pave way for conflict solution which is in the heart of development. My especial thanks go to those who expressed kind and encouraging words, which would inspire me to devote more time and efforts to promote good causes and best practices in institutions in line with the vision of His Highness. Participation by Col. Ikramullah, Dr. Faizi and Dr. Tariqullah have raised the level of debate on issues which are very vital for the meaningful development of Chitral, although in the heat of discussion more relevant issues were glossed over.

There is no denying the fact that AKDN has done a lot for Chitral. However it could have done much better given correct leadership, right balance between establishment cost and development outlay and fair salary dispensation without discrimination. The fact that few projects and institutions are sustainable speaks volumes for the faulty strategy. Had no funds been provided for the repair of its hydel stations, as compensation after the earthquake, many would have been closed by now. No meaningful financial and performance audits of projects and institutions have been carried out to ensure transparency and accountability which have given rise to the culture of impunity and widened credibility gap.

A French philosopher, while giving asylum to a fellow dissident once said, ’although I do not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it even if it costs me my life’.I do not agree with the view that only people in formal positions have the monopoly over understanding the vision of His Highness. In fact I even dispute their credibility to do so at all for the reason that most of the leaders do not have the right mindset to understand the vision.

I want to thank Asif Fancy for not encouraging me to join AKESP. Had he not done so I would have stood condemned for the death of Doulat Bhai and Vilayat and for the plight of many more, including my friend from Madaklasht who is fighting depression to cling to life and my teacher, ‘Fidayyee’, who was given peanuts in pension after 30 years of service and is now suffering from mental problems. As compared to this, blue eyed boys are given fabulous retirement benefits after much less service. Unfortunately all my learned friends have side tracked these issues and some have made it personal. The injustices mentioned above would not have happened, had the Imam’s vision been understood and applied. If leaders born and groomed in low caste Hindu mindset having anthropomorphic or pantheist mindset choose to take over a Touhidi Muslim sect and its institutions, the result would be what it is today. Such leaders would try to take vengeance for all the historical wrongs done to them by high caste Hindus, which psychologists call catharsis, resulting in individual and group behaviour amounting to ethnic cleansing or forced assimilation. This individual and group ailment could have been cured through good education and intellectual development which only a few could muster and they were not allowed to make much impact and those born and groomed in the mystic traditions of Central Asia, who gave enormous sacrifices for its preservation were turned into bystanders and community institutions were taken over by new converts from Hinduism, who were attracted to the belief system because of its egalitarian appeal.

They did so without intending to change their mindset. That is why the then Imam advised the Badakhshanis to keep away from the new converts as their purity might be infected and instead help their Imam to introduce the new converts to the true faith. In one of his interviews, when the then Imam was asked as to why the new converts were worshiping him as god, His Highness replied that earlier on they were worshiping cow and it was an improvement that they have at least risen to worship a human being and soon they would understand Allah, for which they should be given time. They took a long time to shed Avatar worship, thus creating problems for the followers of Touhidi tradition. They used their money power to create forced assimilation resulting in serious consequences for the numerical strength of the community. Their population in Chitral shrank from 70 to 30% and elsewhere in Punjab and NWFP 80% left the community.

The emergence of Zikris and Namazi Ismailis are sufficient proofs of this policy of ethnic and mindset cleansing. The belated effort to restore the creed to its pristine purity is being delayed, if not resisted.

Another area where my article has ruffled feathers is the NGO sector. During a recent Geo T.V talk show a prominent civil society representative categorized NGOs as either having been funded by indigenous philanthropy or foreign corporate sector. She accused NGOs like RSPN of being henchmen of the global corporate sector out to impose global agenda of promoting consumerism and alien cultures by destroying indigenous cultures and social fabric. This thesis was borne out in a LSO meeting, which had not held its AGM for many years, thus violating the law which required it to hold the meeting annually. This violation was done to escape public accountability. This belies claims of creating awareness. The proceedings of the meeting created a lot of embarrassment for the management in as much as it had indulged into many irregularities with impunity which will bring it into conflict with the law resulting in confiscation of property, jail and fines. My impression of the meeting was that some NGOs had stolen the innocence and simplicity of Chitralis in return for a false hope of development, which is only cosmetic. Instead of development they are being run into trouble with the law. Many people would lose their government jobs for joining the NGOs without departmental approval, which is the requirement of law, about which they were not guided...

I do agree with my friends that AKDN has done good things but my point of view is that AKDN was meant to be the best because it carries the name of His Highness, which is the global trade mark for quality. AKESP can be given credit for quantitative development of female education but in today’s competitive world it is the quality that matters and with it is attached the name of His Highness. Unfortunately AKESP can not take credit as far as quality goes. The fact that AKDN fared below the inefficient District Government of Chitral for utilizing billion rupees worth of Norwegian fund speaks for itself. Unlike the Edhi Foundation, which attracts billions of rupees in indigenous philanthropy, AKDN still depends on the goodwill of His Highness and is of late using his name to appeal to the community for donations, without making allowance for their level of impoverishment, which in the first place it was supposed to ameliorate instead of indulging in jobbery and personal aggrandizements of incompetent leaders.

Regarding my perception of institutional vision and that of Ms. Tahira it is my words against hers. She can not lay exclusive claim to wisdom to understand this vision. My interpretation of institutional vision is that of efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, meritocracy and sustainability which are simply missing in the present working dispensation. If there is no sustainable institution there should be reasons and in my view the reasons are that 80% resources are spent on establishment and 20% on service delivery, which has resulted in jobbery, jealousy and blackmail causing great disunity in the community. It is unbecoming of a learned person to dismiss a research paper without going through it. If she cares to dig into the archives of her flawless institutions I am sure she would change her views provided she can rise above the cultural bias and self righteous mindset, which is the bane of our community life today. As far as my desire or that of Rehmat Wali for executive positions in any community institution is concerned, let me inform her that after having been driven out of AKES, Rehmat Wali is well placed in SAARC Islamabd. As far as I am concerned, I was driven by altruistic motives because at that time I was comfortably placed enjoying perks and prestige that Ms. Tahira and her ilks can only aspire for. Having worked with four presidents for twelve years in important positions including that of speech writer , and seven years as Director in Ombudsman’s Secretariat exercising powers equal to a judge and representing Pakistan in global forums and working for three years as Director Training responsible to train officers upto grade 20 with opportunities of extensive travels abroad I had nothing to gain by joining any community institution except to be able to translate the vision of His Highness which no one else except Ashiq Ali Hussain, Tajuddin Manji and few others were able to understand and implement. I knew that by doing so I was running a risk as I may well have lost my goodwill if I was hamstrung by the all knowing , infallible and self righteous leaders sitting in Karachi which at hindsight I am now able to comprehend. It is a blessing in disguise that it did not happen. My good friend and brother Dr. Tariqullah will bear me out that he offered to find me a place in Islamic Development Bank, which I declined with thanks.

When people like Ms. Tahira started insinuating motives to my inclination to join community institutions, I wrote a letter to the then National Council President disavowing my desire to ever join any of the institutions and instead contribute my share of service to the Imam in my own individual capacity which I will do despite all the discouragements like the one that the letter under reference intends to convey. For Ms. Tahira’s information let me say that I resigned from an honorary regional position in a community institution when I came to know that I had no power to change time table of a night school without approval from Karachi .

In my worldview, His Highness stands for global standards in every thing that he does. That being so then why is there so much gap in the salaries of those working in Karachi and the North and vertically speaking between the lowest and the highest. Why the Minimum Wage Act not being implemented not to speak of the ILO standards? Are the Chitralis lesser human beings or they deserve to live in sub-human conditions? Regarding Ms. Tahira’s advice to my daughter how can she keep rishta with the shajar when the maali of the shajar is out to spoil it and is presenting all is well picture to the owner. This shajar can only flourish when the owner gets the correct information about its well being and the present maalies are just doing the opposite and that precisely is our tragedy .So please let us have courage to accept our mistakes, encourage critical input and do not shy away from making corrections. That is the quality of a human being and that makes a human being and an institution improve itself to meet future challenges and become role model .That is my only objective. So please, please don’t twist and put words into my mouth and intention into my heart which are not there, because that would be a sin and I don’t expect a learned lady like Mrs. Tahira to be so ignorant of a cardinal teaching of Islam. Moreover in this information age we can only hide our heads in the sand to our own peril. It is time to wake up before it is too late.

Islamuddin
Garam Chashma, Chitral
.

15 may 2010.

 

 

The good, the bad and the Ugly -letter16

 

In the last couple of years, almost 10 female students from Sore Laspur appeared in the competitive exam to enter the finest medical colleges of our Province who were students of AKESP Schools. Thousands of students from Chitral are studying in different universities of the country on scholarships of AKESP. Several teachers have been trained by professional trainers arranged by AKESP. Numerous teachers have studied in Aga Khan University Karachi for M.Ed sponsored by AKESP.

 

Hundreds of schools are opened in remotest villages of Chitral and Gilgit, of course by AKESP. In an online essay competition where more than 900 institutions participated from all over Pakistan a student of Agha Khan School System secured third position. In an Inter Provincial Science and Technology competition, where different institutions from all districts of the province participated, Agha Khan Higher Secondary School stood second. These are some achievements of AKESP that I know, and I am proud of the organization and the people who are working tirelessly to provide education to our future generation. Yet, we complain that the management is incompetent, the teachers are under paid and under stress and what not.


“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” was a 1966 Italian movie and considered one of the greatest movies ever made. However in the movie, the term, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” refer to three characters of the movie who are thugs, outlaws, killers and opportunists. Using such a name for a respectable institution like AKESP was uncalled for and it must have hurt the feelings of so many people who appreciate AKESP’s efforts in the area. The honourable writer should have avoided using this term for AKESP.
 

M Farooq
Balim, Sore Laspur,

15 May 2010.

 

 

The good, the bad and the Ugly -letter15
 

Chitralnews.com being one of the leading forums is visited by almost every internet literate Chitrali. The recent hot debated topic, 'the good, the bad and the ugly' has been a thought provoking discussion. The views of all the writers on both sides of the debate are respected and appreciated.


It was indeed shocking news for a civilized society that a teacher had committed suicide. Mr. Dulat Bai, may he rest in peace, was a teacher of AKESP. Mr. Islamuddin in the light of our religious teachings has rightly put it as the death of humanity. But our religion also says that suicide is forbidden in Islam. The discussion should have ended at that point. It could have depicted the respect our society shows to the deceased soul. Unfortunately it took off from there. Attributing the suicide of a teacher to a single factor i.e. AKESP’s policies becomes a hasty generalization of facts. There could have been another discussion initiated to redress the so-called unfriendly policies of AKESP.


The intelligentsia of Chitral participated in the discussion robustly. Many of the aggrieved individuals who had been laid-off by AKESP due to one reason or the other availed this opportunity to release their frustration. The injustices done to them are not related to the suicide of a teacher. Quite a few of them admitted the fact that they had been groomed professionally by the said organization. Instead of accusing the AKESP’s management or the honorary set up these highly qualified individuals must utilize their talents to uplift the education system in Chitral. The AKDN again has been deliberately dragged into the discussion. The AKDN and its subsidiary organizations have brought about unprecedented socio-economic development in the area. It must be known to those who highlight the shortcomings of AKDN that it does not serve interests of individuals by offering them jobs etc. but it believes in serving the humanity in general. Such a myopic approach must be replaced by enlightened vision to help Chitral prosper in future.
Education being crucial for the development of Chitral must not be politicized. Even if someone tries to do that the educated lot must discourage such a notion. Moreover, the human dignity must not be compromised for petty issues. I really feel sorry for the departed soul of Mr. Dulat Bai and his family. The good could not prevail if we continue to be bad and situation becomes ugly when the dignity of human life evades.

Syed Gohar Ali Shah,
Islamabad.

14 may 2010.

 

 

The good, the bad and the Ugly-letter14

 

After going through the different letters of our valued and learned writers on the subject cited above I wish to submit my view point as under:-


It is accepted that in delivery of services and discharging any type of obligation nobody can claim to be 100% perfect. Having characteristics of human- being everybody can make mistake and commit irregularities. So if we apply this phenomenon to AKDN institutions, there might be some shortcomings and irregularities committed on their part. We feel sorry for what has happened with some of our brothers either in case of removal from service or violation of rules and regulations in appointments (as per our learned writers’ letters). We have our deep sympathies towards them. They have the right to express their grievances. In my opinion it could be much better to probe into the matter thoroughly, interrogate it, sit with the concerned people, bring the issue on the table, talk to them, and negotiate with them and get the problem properly addressed before lodging complaint and bring it into the notice of global village.

As regards Institutions with the exception of few irregularities (If any, as mentioned) I think these are doing their best. It is not an easy job to give time, money and knowledge but those who are doing this noble job need to be appreciated and acknowledged. It is by virtue of the institutions that most of us reached the highest positions either in govt or non-govt organizations. It is because of AKESP,s initiatives that our daughters in both the sister communities are getting education with great zeal and enthusiasm and took the female literacy rate higher than any district in KP province. It is because of AKESP that many of our brothers and sisters did their M.Ed and rendering their services in different academic institutions. It is because of institutions that many of our brothers and sister became nurses, LHVs, physicians and surgeons who are rendering their services in govt and non-govt organizations. It is by virtue of these institutions that burden on govt hospitals has reduced tremendously and our sick get treatment at their door step. It is only because of institutions that our infants get vaccines on time and get rid of different fatal diseases and mortality rate in children has come down to the minimum.
 

It is only because of the institutions that we separated our cattle-pans from our houses. It is the institutions that introduced toilets and wash rooms in our houses almost 25 years ago while there is still no conception of these things in the rural areas of Sindh and Punjab which are considered more developed provinces. It is the institutions that educated us about the importance of clean drinking water. It is the institutions that gave us education about the dangers of smoke and introduced local cooking stove (Manqal) in our houses. It is the institutions that introduced siphon irrigation system and cultivated our barren lands. It is the institutions that introduced local hydel power stations and now when the whole country is running through crucial load shedding there is 24-hour electricity facility in our Sore laspoor( If I am not wrong).


At the end it is my humble request to all our valued and learned writers and readers not to take any thing personal and give their valuable suggestions and recommendations to the institutions for their improvement and reforms to get them on the better track. It is only by our positive ideas we can make a difference and make the institutions good, better and green and more beneficial for its inhabitants.

Zahir Uddin,
Canada.

13 may 2010.

 

 

The good, the bad and the Ugly-letter13
 

This is with reference to the comments of Dr. Faizi on my humble views on the topic under heated discussion. Before I respond to Dr. Faizi’s comments, let me assure the valued readers that I am not a born cynic who cannot see the positive side of the picture. Dr Faizi despite being a highly learned individual has faltered and has, presumably, failed to appreciate my viewpoint. I don’t believe in beating about the bush. My views are based on reading of the ground situation and valid reasoning. My intention was not aimed at belittling and decrying the role of AKES,P—a subsidiary organization of AKDN.  AKDN is really doing a marvelous job in terms of improving the mass literacy rate, basic healthcare and in many other ways which speak for themselves. What all I wanted to highlight was to urge the Karachi-based AKES, P senior management to reconsider its approach towards education, and frame policies which could fit into the rapidly changing requirements keeping in view the latest development taking place in the field of education. There is a need to contextualize the approach and policies to local requirements of Chitral.

I understand that the prime objective of AKES,P Chitral a few years back was to enhance the mass literacy rate, and being successful in achieving that objective, AKES,P Chitral has the reason to celebrate it and even perhaps feel proud of it. In order to achieve that objective, the management engaged plain matriculates offering a paltry sum as salary, but to continue with the same approach ignoring the changing environment would be no more valid today. What is required now is the quality education in today’s competitive world which can only be ensured if AKES,P senior management brings some drastic changes in its policies in order to harmonize them with the changing requirements. It is my firm belief that the honorary set up functioning in the system is not capable to deliver because it is predominantly composed of non-professionals and they prefer to engage those individuals as paid employees who are not familiar with the nitty gritty of education but prove to be pliant and humble subordinates.

If the management is really sincere in fulfilling the vision of High Highness then there is no other way except revamping the entire system, engage true professionals, give them a free hand to frame policies and implement them, minimize its interference and limit its role to provide necessary guidelines and financial backup. The culture of favouritism, nepotism and personal liking and disliking must be replaced by meritocracy, professionalism and competence.
 

Col (r) Ikram Ullah Khan,

COMSATS University,,Abbottabad,

12 May 2010.

 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly'-letter12
 

A number of recent happenings and the memories of my past in Chitral and especially with Mr. Islamuddin have dragged me into this somewhat boggy discussion.

Here is the first set of pull factors for writing these lines. First, few days ago a young lady who has recently done her PhD in the UK on architectures and civilizations sent me a BBC video clip of Major Geoffrey Langlands asking me if I was also from Chitral, which in her words “looks like a paradise” in the video. She came to know about Chitral during the early days of her research and perhaps misunderstanding that Chitralis have a significant contribution to Islamic architecture! Second, in March this year there was the World Conference of Muslim Philanthropists in Doha. A German friend of mine who attended the conference told me about “an amazing presentation of civil society developmental works in Chitral and Afghanistan” regions. Third, although BCG was adopted by the Health Committee of the League of Nations (predecessor to the WHO), in 1928, millions of families all over the world are still deprived of it. In the community-based “health centers” in Chitral BCG was started as early as 1963 when at that time only elite families in major cities in Pakistan might have had an access to it. Fourth, male as well as female literacy rates are very high in Chitral as compared to many other districts in Pakistan. The above are some of the positive indicators for which Chitral is often cited in research works on development policies. It is well known that these achievements are driven by the voluntary (Waqf) sector development institutions.

On the top of the second strand of affairs for which I am in this discussion is the letter of Ms. Humaira Islam. She calls for her father’s friends to step in. I am the proclaimed friend number one of her father! My advice to him would be to calm down.

I found that in his letter my friend Mr. Islamduddin tries to separate institutions from personalities. On the other hand, as a highly learned student of institutional political economy he knows that any meaningful work can only be done through institutions. If for some reasons he is not able to work with certain institutions, in my humble understanding the best strategy for him would be to call it a day. No one individual is perfect. Therefore, it would be unrealistic for institutions to be perfect specially being an amalgamation of imperfect individuals. Keeping that in mind, institutions are utilized by any benevolent leader as his eyes and ears.

Finally, I absolutely agree with the positive approach of Dr. Faizi of Balim and Ms. Namdar of Karachi. That positive approach shall be the way forward in building further the established landmark of Chitral as a successful example of human development in some of the world’s most hardship hit areas.

Tariqullah Khan,
11 May 2010.

 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly'-letter11
 

This is with reference to the letter of Col (r) Ikramullah Khan on the subject. The learned writer has based his arguments on the foundation laid by Mr. Islamuddin and endorsed the letter’s views in toto. I am a born optimist and I firmly believe, in the saying “ even behind the darkest clouds, the sky is always blue.”

This is true that (AKDN) Aga khan Development Network is not an employees friendly network. I agree that AKDN derives corporate social responsibility and causes depression to the employees in many ways. How ever I also see many good things happening due to the efforts of AKDN. Rising literacy rate, particularly among the female and decreasing infant mortality rate in Chitral is an outcome of AKDN initiatives in the region. As for as weaknesses and anomalies are concerned, these are not due to the fault of global leadership or Karachi based hierarchy.

 

The weaknesses are due to the inefficiency, and weakness of the regional and local honorary set up. I would like to make a comparison between the leadership of Chitral and Hunza right from 1946 to date. The Hunzakuts never complained against Khoja leadership. They know how to go about and how to deliver in a highly pressing and challenging environment.

 

There are two famous lines from an Urdu poem “ Me Kuch bhi Nahi Karta Who Aram Karte Hain, Me apna Kam karta hun who apna kam Karte hein” This is very true of a traditional Chitrali Mindset, and I fear my learned friends are doing the same through sharing blame game in a society notorious for mud slinging and leg pulling. Both the learned writers can do better service to the community in hundreds of other ways.

Dr. Inayatullah Faizi,
Balim, Chitral.

11 May 2010.

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly'-letter10

 

"Goodness I call the habit and goodness of nature the inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of the mind is the greatest; being the character of Deity and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtues, charity and admits no access but error". (Sir Francis Bacon)


These golden words of famous English Philosopher and eminent writer Sir Francis Bacon struck my mind when I read Miss Humaira Islam’s letter published in your esteemed online. My humble suggestion to her is to stay steadfast and keep restraint, because her father is on a noble mission to accomplish. Islamuddin is a perfect embodiment of the above quoted lines of Bacon. He prefers the well being of the down trodden people of society over his personal perks and benefits.

 

 It is clearly evident from the fact that he made the death of a teacher of AKESP his own pain. He is crusading against the injustices and irregularities prevalent in our society in general and in the Institutions of AKDN in particular. He has taken up the responsibility of purging the prestigious organization of our beloved Hazir Imam of sycophants and toadies.
 

I disagree with the contention of the learned writer that her father is fighting a lost battle and Ismailies are incorrigible to be mended, as there are hundreds of young Chitralies who are adhering devotedly to his point of view and are ever ready to toe his line.They are literally fed up with the sycophantic and snobbish attitude of functionaries of the developmental institutions.


Moreover, Ismailies are a docile, polite and flexible community in the world. What we expect from Humaira is to lend a helping hand to her father and encourage him, as he is a man with revolutionary ideas, enormous energy and talent. Right now if his friends and well wishers request him to call it a day, he would certainly pay no heed to their requests as he is a man with nerve of steel, who would not falter in trials and tribulations of life.


It is my committed hope that he would not rest on his laurels and would carry on his crusade against those bringing a bad name to our Imam's institutions.
 

Alia Akhtar,
Chitral.

09 May 2010.

 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly'-letter9

 

Having read the letter of Mr Islamuddin on the topic followed by a number of other letters particularly the two letters--- a narrative of the veritable jeremiad of two learned individuals, i e Mr Rehmat Wali Khan and Alhaj Muhammad Khan really arousing one’s pity and ange, I chose to add a few points to urge the AKES, P top management to wake up from their deep slumber and reform the institution before it is too late as much water has already passed under the bridge.


Mr. Rehmat Wali and Alhaj Muhammad Khan’s grumblings appear to be genuine and are underpinned by a spate of blunders and injustices allegedly committed by the management of AKES,P Chitral. The management has miserably failed to deliver as it is infested with a band of incompetent, non-professional and inexperienced dilettantes who are occupying the driving seat. The top management based in Karachi having no knowledge of the local problems and requirements measures them with the instrument which is faulty lacking both validity and reliability characterized by abysmal ignorance. It heavily relies on what the local management feeds them thereby presuming that everything is going well and to their entire satisfaction whereas the reality on ground is diametrically opposite to belie their spurious belief. It is not that the top management sitting in its comfortable offices in Karachi is too simpleton so as to accept all the rubbish presented to them in the form of monthly or quarterly progress report. It is just because it feels comfortable with the incompetent lot as it suits their temperament. They cannot accept and accommodate competent professionals who could stand up to them with their chest out and look into their eyes because it goes against their interest. Since the Karachi-based management comes primarily from business background, they treat education as a normal business venture. They lack vision and intellectual acumen as for as education is concerned though they may be very successful in their parent field. They fail to appreciate that AKES, P Chitral operates under a different set of circumstances which should be kept in view while framing policies. The incongruity of the management’s policies has invited criticism not only from the educated class but from the general public as well thereby making a serious dent in the institution’s reputation which runs counter to the vision of His Highness. So the outcome is writing on the wall.

Their idiosyncrasy does not fit into the system because their approach to and modern concept of quality education are poles apart.

One of the major factors responsible for the deteriorating standard of education in AKES, P Chitral could well be attributed to the lack of understanding of educational priorities. The root cause of the problem lies in the inability of the management to appreciate the situation in its totality. The problems facing the teaching staff of AKES, P Chitral are very conveniently ignored by the management. The major factor responsible for the widespread discontentment prevailing among the AKES, P Chitral’s teaching staff is the poor salary package and absence of a proper service structure compounded by the lack of job security. When the management offers a salary package ranging from Rs.3000 to 8000 to a teacher and that too with no job security, and expects him to impart quality education, I am afraid we are befooling ourselves. We must understand that in order to impart quality education we ought to ensure that the principle of meritocracy is strictly followed and highly qualified and professionally competent individuals are engaged: this can only be possible when the management judges a candidate purely on merit and offers a handsome salary package to him commensurate with his qualification and experience besides providing proper service structure and job security. But it does not suit those who are at the helm of affairs. Major chunk of the donors’ fund is being lavishly spent on the salaries, perks and privileges of the managerial staff. The way the teaching staff is being treated, no individual with even a modicum of self-respect would be ready to serve as a teacher. Even the serving teachers who did their M.Ed from AKU-IED under the sponsorship of AKES, P are forced to leave the institution due to the shoddy treatment meted out to them. It is highly demoralizing that the hardworking and talented teachers have been supplanted by a fleet of sycophants and incompetent staff. It is very unfortunate that the very purpose for which AKES, P Chitral was established, has been defeated in the hands of a handful of self-serving individuals.

It is high time that the Karachi-based top management took necessary corrective measures to control the damage already caused and put this great institution back on track without upsetting the apple cart and by engaging true professionals rising above their personal liking and disliking if they are sincere in fulfilling the vision of His Highness though I understand, it is very hard to swallow the bitter pill. The institution needs to be purged of the undesirable and parasitic elements. There is a need to run the institution in a transparent manner instead of running it like a personal fiefdom. The performance of all and sundry associated with this great institution should be subjected to a severe scrutiny. I hope sanity will work and better sense will prevail.

 

Col (r) Ikram Ullah Khan,

COMSATS University,,Abbottabad,

09 May 2010.
 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly' -letter8

 

Reference to the letter by Ms Tahira Namdar on the subject,  I have the following observations to make.
The worthy lady, referring to earlier writers on the subject has pointed out that three of them were declined jobs in the organisation. Obviously those been declined jobs (unjustifiably, according to their contention) would be critical of the organisation. Those comfortably employed are not expected to be criticizing their organisation (until after they have left the organisation, in many cases!). The writer should not have focused on who is criticizing, but rather on what is being criticized.

The writer says the critics have not given solid proposals for improvement of the organisation. If the critic writers were that accomplished to give solid proposals for improvement of the organisation they should have been sitting on high managerial chairs, drawing hefty salaries and not crying over being rejected for primary school teacher jobs. Pity the poor teachers!.

About Mr Islamuddin, worthy Ms Tahira has aspersed that he is more rather philosophical than practical in his approach and should seek to look at ground realities. It is most unfortunate that those who speak the truth today are accused of ignoring ground realities. Has God's ground become so stained, that truth has no place on it and ground realities mean compromising with corruption and wrong doings only. 

 

It is with all Govt departments, NGOs and Multinational companies, that any one wanting to point out their weaknesses is pounced upon by a battery of ever ready 'supporters' of the organisation,  killing the effort there and then and snubbing the critic instead of trying to improve themselves. Mr Islamuddin is a ray of hope in a society dominated by mafias of sorts, who have no soft corner for the true and the upright. If there were enough people like Islamuddin in Chitral, we would have been living in a much better place.

 

Faridul Haq,

Chitral.

08 May 2010.

 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly' -letter7

 

This is apropos to the letter written by Mr Islamuddin on the above topic. I am a regular reader of his essays and stories because he has the ability to separate realties from unrealities and truths from untruths that is his strength of height of knowledge and intellectual depth. The learned writer has been conspicuously and courageously encapsulating the ground realities prevailing in the field of politics, economics, development, health and education in Chitral over the years. He has been using the language of truth which obviously and culturally does not serve the interests of few who believe in selfism.

 

His recent writings on the tragic death of an AKESP teacher and the organisation itself is another matter  worth discussion. As a former employee of this organisation I owe much to it for my professional growth and personal development. I also carry with me some sweet and bitter memories associated with this organisation which are now history for me. I belief that this organisation has an incredible potential and ability to change the face of woman education in Chitral being the first organisation to introduce some innovations in education such as parental education, early childhood education and community education at large, provided it strives to assemble more able people who can spearhead the ship practically as is envisioned by His Highness for the ailing humanity and expected by the people from AKDN institutions.

 

To the contrary, the writings of the learned scholars tell volumes of nepotism and favoritism that can potentially kill the ultimate purpose of the establishment of this in a underdeveloped area like Chitral. According to the learned writers the organisation is infested with paper tigers who can only pile up files but not results and productions. This is a highly sorry state of affairs for those who pin hope on this for better education for Chitrali people.
 

It is an established fact that organizations are known by people and not vice versa. But, the experience and observations shown have surfaced that unfortunately in AKESP an astonishing gap exists between performance of core duties and abilities to perform. This thesis and inference of mine may clash with the self-proclaimed and idealized philosophy of work of some of my former nears and dears but the adage goes that truth is always bitter to swallow. If the told stories are based on truth, then the organisational merit, functions and the procedures of selection of employees for the organisation need a REVISIT.
 

If there is truth in the views of Mr Islamuddin, then, the experiences of some of my competent friends and former colleagues carry weight. Apart from this, here, I must also take this opportunity to request some of the honorable off-Chitral so-called scholars to not to self-hypothesize their philosophies by concocting and distorting realities developed merely on hearsay or weak knowledge of ground realities of institutions in Chitral sitting either in Karachi or abroad.


Mr. Islamuddin has had the honour to be a former civil servant, competent, bold, and upright, so what, if he was not selected and I would say more rightly, elected for an executive position in
AKESP some years back. To his credit, he has served in various coveted positions as an honest person more honorably and is still doing well as the faithful son of Chitral by spreading education in Chitral after saying good bye to a very lucrative position in the high echelon of power and authority. Hats off to Mr. Islamuddin for providing a food for thought to many Chitrali writers and scholars to highlight the problem of Chitral by knocking at the door of discussion to untie the realities and truths choked for years and to lay the foundation for better future for the deprived and oppressed of this land called Chitral.

Iqbal Shahnavi,
Visiting Faculty NUML, Lahore.

09 May 10.

 

 

‘The good, the bad and the ugly' -letter6

 

This is with reference to the letters appearing in Chitral News on the subject “the good, the bad and the ugly”. I confess that I don’t have a good idea about the exact nature of what the writers are talking about and the factual standing of the claims made in their letters. My observations are based only on the analysis of the contents of the four letters.

First, everyone has the right to express her/his feelings and Chitral News is commended for providing such an opportunity to the people of Chitral. Expressions of feelings can also be an effective healing process for ailments of individuals, institutions and societies. Therefore, the writers are also commended for using the mode of writing in expressing their emotions.

With respect to the contents of the letters, there are two central themes common in the four letters – that the three writers were declined jobs in the organization in question and that the four persons don’t offer any positive and actionable suggestions that can address the alleviation of the alleged problems in the organization.

The letter of Mr. Islamuddin shows that he is emotionally attached with his own version of the philosophy of life, faith and organizational behavior of government and civil society institutions. This type of an attitude could be that of an intellectual but to stand ground it must be supported by credible facts, figures and objective analysis. On the contrary managers of organizations must primarily understand the visions and missions of the organizations they aspire to work for. Once they are inside the organizations they can be the “movers and shakers” not by writing self sponsored research papers or news paper columns but by changing the strategies and policies of the organizations from within.

Despite the fact that the three writers were competent they were not able to enter the said organization. Why? Because they have their own pronounced visions and missions and these are in conflict with vision and mission of the organization. Primarily, managers are selected to implement the visions of the organizations as agents and not for implementing their own individual visions. It is my advice to aspiring young professionals to understand that such considerations are an integral part of merit-based human resource development policies of modern organizations.

In case of Mr. Islamuddin the conflict between his self-proclaimed vision and that of the network of organizations in question are apparent from the very title of his 1986 “self sponsored” research. It is not at all surprising that he was rejected for an executive position entry – in his research paper he perhaps wants to change the global and highly complex environment of his community, instead as a professional he is expected to pursue the vision of the organization and achieve its set measurable goals and targets of educational development at local, regional or national levels. The conflict is also apparent from the motives behind his self proclaimed sacrifice for servicing Chitral at the tremendous cost to his own profession and family. He alleges that the organization is question is taking away good students from private schools. I would only conclude that he arrived in Chitral with an objective to run schools that can compete with those run by the organization in question. The goal of competition is commendable as it improves services rendered to the society. Other private schools must also be facing a similar situation of competition and these schools really need support. But it is unfair to blame others for one’s own emotional decisions and the resultant failure of actions.

Mr. Islamuddin as a well educated, competent and motivated person and the like can do better by putting forward specific, positive and actionable suggestions for qualitative change. On the contrary if they remained entangled in their own past and their self-styled doomsday scenarios for the future, their sigh and cry would not have any positive impact on the faith or fame of their community. Nor can any good be done to serve the society and humanity or even one’s own family.

To Humiara Islam, you are the future - start life with all the good and positive thoughts and please, "paiwasta reh shajar sey, umaid –e-bahar rak"!

Ms. Tahira Namdar,

Karachi.

07 May 2010

 

 

‘The good, the bad and the ugly' -letter5

 

First of all I thank Mr Islamuddin for speaking the language of many subjugated people by writing the letter under discussion. It is the true story of hundreds of other people (who will probably open their mouths in the times ahead) including me. Everybody knows that AKES,P Chitral has become a torture cell for many individuals. Favouritism, nepotism, professional jealousy, gang formation and leg pulling have become virtues of the system. The word merit has become gobbledygook and violation of merit a normal phenomenon. I tell these on practical grounds because I served this institution for more than four years with some bitter experiences with the blue-eyed staff inside it.


I am thankful to the institution to the extent that I was one of the beneficiaries for doing M. Ed. But why my potentials were not utilized later after even getting top scores at the AKES,P Chitral so-called recruitment test? If merit was there, then I would also have been somewhere in the organization. But I am not! Not because I refused to serve, but because the gang thought of torturing me so that I can never stand up as a developed individual. I had ambitions to serve this esteemed institution but the trained leg pullers had already planned to throw me out. Unfortunately these people are still working in paid as well as honorary setups within AKDN.


I know many of the AKESP Chitral pseudo-professionals entering the institution without being qualified for the positions as per advertisements of that time. They made it because they had strong backings and relations. The ridiculous attitudes of these officials are enough to make an individual rebellious or commit something wrong, as happened in the particular teacher’s case. To me, all of the AKES, P Chitral officials have a share in killing this teacher, the most honoured individual in any human society especially the Islamic one. It is not the death of late Doulat Bhai, it is a death of all the teachers around the world, and as Islamuddin has rightly mentioned, the “death of entire humanity”.


I have witnessed many such instances, in which His Highness’s Name was used as a tool to serve one’s vested interests of making points by deceiving the poor teachers. I am not opening this all to the media now and I may do so if counter arguments to this letter arise. It is very clear that the institution is not in the hands of honest people and the higher-ups should seriously think about it. It is doing disservice to the society killing the sole purpose of its establishment. These feedbacks should reach somewhere and the public of Chitral has to make this institution accountable because they are the stakeholders in it. Otherwise there are many lives at stake because of the injustice and inefficiency prevailing in this institution.


I acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by Mr Islamuddin who is doing a marvelous job in bringing reforms in institutions working in Chitral by highlighting the core realities and issues which have almost become taboos for some reasons. It must be clear to the readers by now that the written stuff is not against the creation of AKES,P in Chitral but the unsuitable staff running it. They have to either struggle for amendments in the policies if those are not in line with our context or ensure fair implementation of the existing policies without compromising on merit.

Rehmat Wali Khan,
Ex-Teacher Educator,AKESP, Chitral.
06 May  2010

 

 

'The good, the bad and the ugly’ -letter4

 

I had forwarded a letter in relation to the subject by pointing out injustice done to me. My story was too lengthy but I had to limit my words in a page by following professional ethics and that’s why I think respected Mr. Sirajuddin severely said “losing is the part of life it doesn’t mean any one start blaming the organization. We need to accept and face reality”.


I had to answer this question within few days but why now. It is only because I take the matter as a case study to collect more data on the subject and now I am writing after this process with genuine justifications which come from different experts, educationists, legends, intellectuals and enlightened youngsters and even from community.


One thing here I would like to make clear that I never used to criticize organizations unjustifiably and unreasonably and will never do it. I know and believe this adage as guiding principle of my life. “First deserve then desire”. I have the ability to accept the reality not injustice and anything particularly which is detrimental to the vision of our Imam.  I have a lot of evidences of the performance of AKESP.  In my recent case every educationist and expert will be surprised to see the advertisement, question paper, time allocation, answer papers, marking criteria, short listing for interview and requisite qualifications, so on and so forth.


In the Letter titled “The good, the bad, and the ugly” the outspoken cream of Chitral, Islamuddin has elaborately and succinctly enunciated it very well where the performance of AKESP evidently comes to light.
No one can deny the fact that if a person having all the qualifications, experiences, talent and services, are taken for granted even rejected which ultimately results in loss of confidence in his abilities, leads to depression and aggressive depression to suicide only due to the mediocre sycophants designed policies for serving group interests and those who are well-versed with nothing more than flattery and obsequiousness.


I had made public the one aspect of the dilemma but the letter from Islamuddin encompasses the whole system on the basis of research-oriented work. From these realities every once concludes that these steps on the part of the authorities from top hierarchy to bottom have caused severe wounds in the hearts of the community from dumdum bullets and resultantly the vision of our Imam is belittled  slowly and gradually on one hand and envisioned principles of meritocracy, transparency, justice, equality, and tolerance on the other. Therefore I would rather forward my deep request to enlightened personalities to make systematic groundwork in order to put the machinery back on the right track.

Alhaj Muhammad Khan
Charun.
05 May, 2010

 

 

‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ -letter3

 

I am not joining this debate in support of the author of the original article because Islamuddin is my father. In fact his honesty has cost all of us much pain and trouble. In the beginning we did not understand, why he is doing this but afterwards we started appreciating his passion for service to the oppressed humanity at personal and family cost. Even today we advice him to rest, as he has grown old and developed health problems but he would not listen and says that life is given once and life well spend is the one that helps good causes. He has lost many opportunities for well paid jobs in AKDN and other NGOs and today after his self chosen retirement all his children are working to provide for decent living.

Over the years he has emerged as a conscience of not only Ismailism but also of Chitral. Nobody cares for him. He is a lone fighter. He continues to make powerful enemies and ruffles feathers. I thank
Chitral News for making his pages on the net available to him in his crusade; otherwise he would have died of suffocation like the teacher at Parabeg, which my father has made his own pain.

To me he is fighting a lost battle. Ismailis have become incorrigible. How much he wants to do more at our costs, to repay his debt to His-Highness and Ashiq Ali for mentoring him to become what he is today. I request his friends to tell him that enough is enough and call it a day and leave Chitralis and Ismailis to their own fate. If they are doomed, nobody can save them except their leaders if they can rise above their petty interests to serve the people honestly. I know this is a hope against hope but then human beings live by hope if they want to live at all.. We only want our father to live long in good health but his present work puts him in great strain.


Humaira
Islam,

Garam Chashma, Chitral.

05 May 10

 

 

‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ -letter2

 

Having read Islamuddin's letter titled 'The good, the bad and the ugly', I feel pity for the state of affairs in Chitral whether in the govt or NGO sector. It is because of this sorry state mentioned therein, that despite spending tons of money most NGOs are delivering very little if anything.

 

NGOs, like the one mentioned in the letter, have long been under accusation, for ignoring merit, promoting sycophancy and not doing justice to the noble cause and vision of HH prince Karim Aga Khan.

 

The AKES despite it's 28 years of existence in Chitral has not been able to become a self sustaining institution, whereas the Pamir Degree college which Islamuddin heads has in it's six years age risen from a high school to a degree college and is offering BEd courses, on it's own feet.

 

What Islamuddin has pointed out is just the tip of an ice berg. A thorough investigation (by impartial sources) needs to be carried out to arrest the decay and put the institution in question on a progressive path.

 

Faridul Haq,

Chitral.

02 may 10

 

 

‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ -letter1

 

At the outset let me make it clear that I am a loyal follower of His Highness Shah Karim Aga Khan as my 49th Imam. I can never think of disrespecting any institution carrying his name. But now the situation has come to such a sorry pass that it would be criminal and disservice to His Highness to remain silent because now the casualty is the vision of the Imam and the humanity at large that he wishes to serve as progeny of Allah’s last prophet.

The institutions envisioned and created by His Highness and his great grand father, which were the trade mark for quality and service to humanity, have now started to take human lives in the hands of pygmies. Recently yet another AKES teacher has lost his life due to depression caused by the whimsical, reckless and discriminatory policies and service structure offered by AKESP. His fights against the Leviathan may have borne no fruits and he ,as a lesser mortal, had no stamina to continue the fight and chose the easy path Earlier another teacher, a class fellow of mine from Momi and a bright student, died of depression after having been retired compulsorily from AKESP. Yet another class fellow of mine from Madak lasht and a brilliant one, is fighting for his life against depression. A few days ago I came across a relative of mine from one of the above villages, again an AKES teacher, whom I found at the threshold of depression. There may well be dozens of other such cases. This is the measure of our inhumanity that no one in AKESP feels pushed to take notice of the situation and are hiding their heads in the sand like ostriches or inventing excuses.

Way back in 1986 in my self sponsored research paper titled “Wither Ismailism?” written in the backdrop of 1982 communal disturbances in Chitral,I had predicted that if the suffocating environment, mediocracy and sycophancy in Ismaili institutions and AKDN are not addressed in time and with serious attitude Ismailism would wither away and for the rehabilitation of the leftovers we would require psychiatric facility in AKU, which I had demanded to be established. I had sent copies of my research paper to top Ismaili leadership. Except Ashiq Ali Hussain, who was National Council President, no body cared to respond. He invited me to Karachi. At that time I was heading a Federal Government office looking after publicity matters of the Government in the three districts of south Punjab, one of the few Ismailis to reach that position-a position that I owe to His Highness and Ashiq Ali Hussain, the then Administrator of Aga Khan Education Board, who groomed me to join the prestigious civil service of Pakistan,which no other khoja Ismaili leader of today would like to do for a non Khoja.

I met him in Karachi. He appeared to agree with my research finding but complained that there were few people with talent in the North who were willing to serve there and every one wanted to go to a city for comfortable living.To prove his point he asked me as to whether I would resign my prestigious government job with all its perks and privileges to serve in the North. I immediately responded with a big yes. The answer was unexpected. He did not want me to sacrifice my job, for which he himself had groomed me. I confronted him with his own example. After having passed the same civil service examination he had chosen not to join government service. He felt cornered and asked me which AKDN institution I would like to serve in. I immediately responded AKESP, because of my background and interest and also because I considered education as crucial to unlock the development potential in the North. {The fact that I later on took premature retirement, ten years earlier, to contribute in the educational development in Chitral shows my commitment.} He informed me that AKESP had a position vacant in Gilgit. He picked up the phone and talked to Asif Fancy, then Chairman AKESP and advised me to see him. My interview with him apparently went well, although I found him to be arrogant, whimsical and with flawed sense of judgment. Before leaving Karachi I went to say goodbye to Ashiq Ali. I also gave him a run down on my encounter with Asif. As I was about to leave, in his usual polite style Ashiq Ali, in fatherly tone, told me that he would find some other position for me, as Asif Fancy thought that he would not be comfortable with me. Later on I found out that I was rejected because I was too bold, innovative and challenging and could not fit in his empire culture characterized by status quo mindset, sycophancy, apartheid and pliability.

Since then I have been convinced that without a paradigm shift in institutional culture, AKESP can not deliver. It is therefore, not surprising that over the years AKESP has de-educated people in terms of values and quality consciousness, has encouraged cronyism and injustices and is now pushing its teachers towards depression and premature deaths by not listening to and addressing their problems concerning terms and conditions of service.

AKDN, especially AKESP, being global institutions are expected to follow global standards in all matters. It is my hunch that according to ILO criteria salary differential between the lowest and highest paid should be 1 to 10 but in AKESP it is 1 to 100 and in some cases 1 to 1000 or more. Those who complain are punished, rules are invented on need basis for this purpose and no body knows what is in store for him tomorrow. Adhocism is the order of the day. Profits and donor money are spent to hire and give fat salaries and increments to blue eyed boys and the less connected are made to work like donkeys for peanuts. To offset the pressure for sustainability AKESP is now fleecing people with high fees in the name of quality which the present set up comprising shop keepers, businessmen, psudo-educationists and accountants can never provide and quality private schools are being deprived of their bright students by weaning them away, using the name of His Highness, as a trade mark for quality. At the end of the day when parents wake up to reality they would have spent their life’s saving for a sort of education that was available to them at no cost elsewhere. The net loser in the process is the fair name of His Highness and his followers. It is all the more painful that some very good professionals and educationists, enjoying community’s goodwill, like the one in Chitral, would be discredited at the end of the day because he has no input in policy but liable for its failure and is required to implement a policy which has no nexus with education or ground realities. His predecessor was punished for a crime that every one in AKDN and other institutions commits with impunity ie private use of official resources. A Council President , using hospital ambulance for private commuting, defends it by saying that he enjoys authority of the Imam and he is free to do whatever he thinks fit and no one can question him.

The death of AKES teacher under reference not only symbolizes death of education, but also death of humanity. As Muslims we believe that one unjustified death of a human being is tantamount to the death of entire humanity and the death of a teacher should therefore mean the death of a nation’s soul. Whatever circumstances AKESP or heirs of the deceased would like to present for cover up or personal interest the fact remains that circumstantial and supporting evidence makes a damning case against the high ups of AKESP. The only way for redemption is to take urgent steps to save the lives of other teachers and their families through radical reforms in AKESP and fair dispensation for the teachers, correcting the present imbalances, which have become the hallmark of not only AKESP but other institutions as well which now deserve to be corrected before it is too late. The good Imam’s vision can not be translated into reality if his followers continue to be bad and suicidal and the leaders continue to be ugly, taking sadistic pleasure in the agony of the very people that they are supposed to serve.

Islamuddin ,
Garam Chashma, Chitral
01 May 10.

 

(If you wish to comment on the above write up you can write to us at chitralnews@yahoo.com. Please read the rules  before sending comments)

 

 

Bringing you the latest news and views from Chitral