Army chief calls for revisiting the concept of madressah education, and support for democracy

Islamabad: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said it is not for the army to run the government and it’s time for everyone to correct their mistakes and work in their own spheres.

The army chief reiterated that he was pro-democracy and knows the significance of vote power. General Bajwa also voiced concern over madrassas that have mushroomed nationwide for mostly teaching only Islamic theology, saying the country needs to “revisit” the religious school concept.

He said the madrassa education in Pakistan was inadequate because it did not prepare students for the modern world. “I am not against madrassas, but we have lost the essence of madrassas,” General Bajwa said while addressing a seminar titled “Human resource development for the youth of Balochistan — opportunities and challenges” in Quetta.

The COAS said he was recently told that 2.5 million students were being taught in madrassas. He said more madrassas than schools were built during the last 40 years.

“So what will they become: will they become Maulvis or they will become terrorists?” General Bajwa asked, saying it was impossible to build enough mosques to employ the huge number of madrassa students.

“We need to look (at) and revisit the concept of madrassas. We need to give them a worldly education,” he said. General Bajwa said poor education was holding back the nation of 207 million people, and especially in madrassas. He added: “Most of them are just teaching theology. So what are their chances? What is their future in this country?”

He said mistakes were made by generals, politicians, but now it’s time for all to do own duty. The COAS said that army is a state institution meant to serve the nation. Army shall continue to perform its role while national security and development remains a national obligation for all the state institutions. Gen Bajwa also said that he believes 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.

The army chief mentioned that presently over 25,000 Baloch students are receiving quality education at various army and FC-run schools and cadet colleges all over Pakistan. He said nearly 20,000 sons of Balochistan are serving in the army, including over 600 as officers, while 232 cadets are undergoing training at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul. He said this was only the representation in Pakistan Army and the number gets even higher when we take into account the Baloch youth in Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy and other law enforcement agencies.

“Our future is bright and our youth are fully capable of taking on the mantle. Baloch youth are as capable as youth of any area of Pakistan,” the army chief said, adding: “We have enough resources, we just need to improve our human resource.”

General Bajwa said the civil service needs to be made attractive so that the top talent comes to it. “It is the backbone of any country,” he said. The COAS also announced establishment of an MRI Centre in Turbat while expediting establishment of already announced educational institutions.

General Bajwa said the army is a state institution meant to serve the nation. He said the army shall continue to perform its role while the national security and development remains a national obligation for all state institutions. The COAS concluded that tomorrow’s Balochistan will be an engine of national development effort and invaluable link from north to south and also to the west.

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