MPAs assured Ahmadis will not teach Islamic Studies

LAHORE: The  assured the provincial assembly’s opposition and treasury on Wednesday that no Ahmadi teacher would be appointed to teach the subjects of Islamic Studies or Arabic Language.

The assurance was given by Parliamentary Secretary for School Education Joice Rufan Julius after PTI parliamentary leader Mehmoodur Rasheed got up from the proceedings and left the house in protest.

Up till that point, proceedings were running smoothly on Wednesday after they were unable to continue for three days due to the lack of a quorum. Julius was answering questions concerning the education department. That was when Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar stood up and pointed out that there was no legal provision to stop Ahmadis from being appointed as teachers for Arabic or Islamic Studies.

At this point, Julius said there was a 5% job quota specified for religious minorities and 3% for people with disabilities. She added minority candidates can apply on open merit.

The parliamentary secretary stated seasoned individuals were teaching the Holy Quran to students. “Even Christians are also studying Islamic studies,” she said. Julius highlighted that her own daughter, being a Christian, secured 70 out of 75 marks in Islamic Studies.

Not satisfied with her answer, Dr Waseem said he understood that Quranic and Hadith education was necessary at schools, but questioned the lack of legislation to stop Ahmadis from teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies. He also expressed his intentions of boycotting house proceedings and urged others to follow him.

PTI leader Mehmoodur Rasheed stood up and said the government must give assurances that no Ahmadi would teach Islamiat or Arabic. Julius assured that only Muslims taught Arabic and Islamiat.

Rasheed pointed out that no clear answer was being given to the house. Meanwhile, speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal announced an end to the question-answer hour.

Arif Abbasi, another opposition member, told the speaker that this important matter could not be “bulldozed”. He announced a boycott of proceedings and left the hall.

Iqbal sent ministers Khawaja Salman Rafique and Shekh Alaudin to convince the protesting members to come back to the house.

PML-N MPA Ilyas Chinioti suggested that the matter be referred to the parliamentary committee for legislation to stop the induction of Ahmadis as Islamiat and Arabic teachers.

Julius again assured the treasury and opposition that the education department would issue a notification to ensure that no Ahmadi would be hired to teach these subjects.

During the question hour, MPA Amjad Ali, while rejecting an answer of the government, said various teachers showed increased admissions at schools by admitting ghost students and paying fee from their pockets to get rewards.

The house also approved three bills.  They were the Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2016, Punjab Local Government (Six Amendment) Bill 2016, and Forman Christian College Lahore Bill 2016. The opposition submitted their amendments to these bills, but they were dismissed.

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