QUETTA: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has called for widening the scope of education at madressahs (religious seminaries) to enable the students to play a more positive and productive role in society.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Human resource development — opportunities and challenges’ here on Thursday, he categorically stated that he was not against religious seminaries.
The army chief said more religious seminaries were established in Balochistan compared to modern and quality schools for local students during the past four decades. “Only religious education is being imparted to the students at all these seminaries and thus the students are left behind in the race for development.”
He deplored that more than 10,000 teachers were expelled in Balochistan, extensively affecting the educational system and deteriorating the quality of education in the province. He called for better and quality education for handling administrative issues in a better way.
He mentioned the deep impact of the Afghan civil war on this side of the border as the law and order situation had undermined the pace of economic development and stability to a greater extent in Balochistan.
He emphasised that the Army was in the service of the state of Pakistan and its people and not any particular government.
He said competent and experienced bureaucrats were reluctant to serve in Balochistan. He said he had proposed to the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to send more experienced bureaucrats to serve in Balochistan and take the province out of the darkness of backwardness.
The army chief said at present over 25,000 Baloch students were receiving quality education at various schools and cadet colleges run by the army and Frontier Constabulary all over Pakistan. Nearly 20,000 sons of Balochistan were serving in the army, including over 600 as officers while 232 cadets were undergoing training at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul. He said that Balochistan had so much representation in the army and the number got even higher when taken into account Baloch youths in the Pakistan Air Force, Navy and other law enforcement agencies.
“Our future is bright and our youths are fully capable of taking on the mantle. Baloch youths are as capable as youths of any area of Pakistan. We have enough resources, we just need to improve our human resource,” he said.
Gen Bajwa said the civil service needed to be made attractive so that top talent came to join it because it was the backbone of any country.
He announced establishment of an MRI centre at Turbat, while expediting setting up of already announced educational institutions.
He said the army was a state institution meant to serve the nation. The army would continue to perform its role while national security and development remained a national obligation for all state institutions.
The army chief said he believed in democracy and even more so in the democratic values of selfless service and supremacy of moral authority. “All of us have a duty to the nation.”
He said that tomorrow’s Balochistan would be the engine of national development effort and an invaluable link from north to south and also to west.
A large number of politicians, local elites and civil and military officials were also present at the seminar.
Reuters adds: Gen Bajwa said he was recently told that 2.5 million students were being taught in madressahs. “So what will they become: will they become Maulvis (clerics) or they will become terrorists?” he asked, saying it was impossible to build enough mosques to employ the huge number of madressah students.
The army chief said poor education was holding back the nation of 207 million people, and especially in madressahs.
“Most of them are just teaching theology. So what are their chances? What is their future in this country?”