Islamabad,A former National Assembly member and cleric from Pakistan’s Kohistan district, has termed formal education for women as un-Islamic and has asked parents to withdraw their daughters from school, or else they would be ‘doomed’.
Maulana Abdul Haleem, who during his stint as a parliamentarian, had declared poppy cultivation in Kohistan ‘in accordance with Islam’ said, “It is immodest to equip girls with secular education,” adding that those Kohistani parents who were sending their girls to schools were acting against ‘Islamic shariah’ and the local customs, reports The Express Tribune.
Maulana Haleem also protested against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the region, calling them ‘hubs of immodesty’. He did not spare female NGO workers either.
“Some women from these NGOs visit our houses frequently, mobilising naive Kohistani women to follow their agenda in the name of health and hygiene education,” he said.
He threatened them with ‘dire consequences’, saying that married female NGO workers will be sent back to their husbands, and the unmarried ones will be wedded to Kohistani men.
Haleem said the ‘secular’ education of women was against Islam, adding that a woman, if educated, would eventually seek a job, which is not allowed in Islam.
The only responsibility men owe to women is their sustenance, and not education, he said. In return, the women should stay at home and look after their children and family members, he added.
Maulana Haleem claimed that 97% of girls schools in Kohistan were closed and the few girls that were enrolled, only visited their schools to collect cooking oil which the education department was distributing with the support of foreign donors.
Assistant District Officer Education Kohistan Saiful Malook Khan refuted Haleem’s claim, saying there are 255 primary, 13 middle-level, and one high school for girls in the district.