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Pakistan Christians abused in public schools; not admitted to Catholic schools
Muslim teachers at a public girls’ school in Punjab, Pakistan regularly discriminate against Christian students, beat them, and pressure them to convert to Islam according to Christians living in the area, Compass Direct News reported.
Muslim teachers at Government Higher Secondary School in village No. 79-NB (Northern Branch), Sargodha, Punjab were so abusive that two of dozens of Christian girls dropped out, CDN said.
A 16-year old student, Sana, told CDN they are teased and mocked all day and made to daily clean school toilets, the compound and classrooms even if there are staff to do the work.
The Christian students were told that such work was handed down to them from their parents and forefathers.
The abusive teachers mentioned were Muzammil, Sumaira (Islamic Education & Arabic Language teacher), Gullnaz (Math teacher and Ferhat Naz (principal). Naz and Sumaira subject the girls to beatings regularly.
During recess the Christian girls were also made to polish the teachers’ shoes and wash their undergarments and clothes.
When they completed their studies they were denied certificates of completion rendering them inadmissible to other schools and universities. For this reason many Pakistan Christians are undereducated and unemployed, according to CDN.
The Higher Secondary School in village No. 79-NB is the only government school of higher education for girls in the village and adjoining areas. The education department officials of Sargodha Region have been asked to investigate, CDN said.
When CDN questioned Principal Naz about the abuses, she said some Christian girls left the school due to domestic problems. Naz said she would hold an inquiry of the accused (although she is also among them). Protesting residents gathered outside Naz’ office last week, asking for an independent body to conduct the investigation, CDN reported.
Meanwhile Dr. Nazir Bhatti, president of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) decried the fact that Christian schools only admit 0.5 percent Christians, and 99.5 percent Muslims, according to the Pakistan Christian Post (PCP).
Bhatti noted that hundreds of Christian missionary schools and colleges all over Punjab and the rest of Pakistan admit Muslims in favor of Christians. Reasons cited by Bhatti were:
- The secretary in charge of admissions in some of the schools is a Muslim.
- Missionary schools are run like businesses by the Catholic Church of Pakistan and the Church of Pakistan, hence they cater to wealthy Muslims.
- The clergy takes bribes in the shape of donations from wealthy Muslims in exchange for admission of their children.
- Christians are very poor and unable to make large donations for admission.
Bhatti said if these Christian convents and other English medium missionary schools had given priority to Pakistani Christians after the country was independent in 1947, Christians might today have a 100 percent literacy rate, the PCP reported.
Instead, Christian children must enroll in Muslim dominated public schools and colleges where they are not allowed to drink water from the same glasses nor eat from the same plates as Muslim students because they are viewed as infidels, the PCP said.
Bhatti appealed to the Catholic Church of Pakistan and the Church of Pakistan to give Christian students priority in admissions. “They deserve it in schools which are established in their name,” Nazir Bhatti told the PCP.