CM withdraws dress code order for KP schoolgirls after outcry – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: After widespread public criticism, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa decided on Monday night to withdraw its previous order throughout the province, instructing students in the educational institutions of the upper and upper secondary government to wear the veil.

The initial directive had been defended by government representatives as required if girls who went to school should protect themselves against "unethical incidents": harassment.

Earlier on Monday morning, the district education officer (DEO) for women, Peshawar, issued a circular addressed to the principals of all government girls' schools, telling them to "properly follow school hours and instruct everyone students to wear the dress / chador to watch / hide / cover to protect them from any unethical incident. The matter can be treated as the most urgent, important and important, "said the circular.

The measure came a few days after the education department of the Haripur district issued a similar circular.

Sources counted Dawn that the Prime Minister of the KP, Mahmood Khan, ordered the secretary of primary and secondary education, Arshid Khan, to withdraw the controversial order, as it had been issued unnecessarily.

"Orders issued by different DEOs will be withdrawn early Tuesday," Secretary Arshid Khan told this newspaper, citing the prime minister who said the situation of law and order in the province was normal and that there was no need or need. urgency of such orders. . The secretary said that the DEOs had not entrusted the prime minister and the department with regard to the matter.

The measure had caused widespread outrage on social networks (although some users did support it); In a tweet, presenter Amber Rahim Shamsi commented that this was tantamount to burdening victims with harassment. "As if the women who wear the hijab and the abaya are not harassed. Well done KP. Well done," he wrote.

Earlier on Monday, the advisor to the primary and secondary education prime minister, Ziaullah Bangash, had defended the orders, saying Dawn that during a recent door-to-door enrollment campaign, parents had expressed concern about bullying and student safety. He explained that whenever cases of harassment were reported, police guards were deployed during school closing time. He added that the government also decided to ensure that students were hidden.

Sources counted Dawn that the advisor had ordered all the education officers of the women's district to issue the directives. However, these sources questioned the wisdom behind the movement, since the students are already adequately covered, often with a gown, chador or veil.

“There was no need or logic behind this; rather, it was only for media consumption, "said the source. He said that no consultation had been conducted with any official of the provincial education department, and argued that the girls were already covered according to cultural perceptions and that it was unfair to impose restrictions.

Another source also questioned the measure alleging that instead of persecuting the men they harass, the government was imposing more restrictions on women.

When contacted, District (Female) Education Officer Samina Ghani had told her Dawn that most schoolgirls already wore different types of veils when they went to school. "This decision will encourage parents to send their daughters to schools," he said.

Similarly, Mr. Bangash had explained that the decision was "in accordance with the religion, culture and will of the parents", although, according to him, some NGOs portray the veil negatively "for their personal interest."

Posted on Dawn, September 17, 2019



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