Syed Jamaluddin Afghani school for refugees staged a monstration

Sindh: 22 April:Students and teachers of Syed Jamaluddin Afghani School, the only school recognised by the Afghan government for refugees in Sindh, staged a demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club on Saturday against the alleged unlawful detention of school principal Syed Mustafa Agha.

The principal had been allegedly picked up from his school in Sohrab Goth on April 17.

The protesters, who were holding placards and banners, chanted slogans against Agha’s detention and demanded his safe recovery immediately.

They said the principal was teaching children in a classroom when four law enforcers in plainclothes and two in uniform arrived and took him into custody.

The organisers of the protest were of the view that they themselves tried to trace him but failed. “We approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but there was no one to hear us,” said Zikrullah, a teacher at the school, told The News.

He said Agha had been serving the school as principal for the last 13 years and had no links with any banned outfits. He was just an educator and educating the children of refugees, he added.

Zikrullah said Afghan children had no choice where they would be getting education, and if teachers continued to be picked up from the school, hundreds of refugee children would be deprived of the right to get education.

“Our children are growing without education and even the government schools in Sindh have been refusing admissions to them,” he regretted, adding that Syed Jamaluddin Afghani School was the only school recognised by the Afghan government, but such dentations would lead the school to the verge of closure.

He said the police also refused to register complaints of such incidents. “After the incident, we went to Sohrab Goth Police Station, but police refused to register our complaint.”

Zikrullah said the teachers had already approached the consulate general of Afghanistan in Karachi, where officials told them that they would visit the school on Monday.

Afghan Refugees Chairman Abdullah Shah Bukhari said the refugees were living in Karachi legally, and almost every Afghan in Karachi had a Proof of Refugee card; therefore, harassment of teachers was against the law. “If the authorities have reservations about any of the refugees, they should opt for a legal way.”

The teacher said around 1.5 million Afghan refugees resided in Pakistan, but their children faced difficulty in accessing and acquiring education in government schools.

“We have no educated people who have the courage to raise voice for our rights,” said Abdul Azeem, Agha’s cousin.

“Agha struggled for the recovery and release of missing Afghan refugees who were illegally detained and perhaps it’s the only reason for his distention.”

Syed Jamaluddin Afghani School was set up by an elderly Afghan refugee, Syed Hadi Hashmi, in1992 and its management allows admissions to refugees’ children from all over the city.

There are around 350 students studying in the school. The medium of teaching in the school is Darri. The management has however allowed the teachers and students to use Pashto, Persian and English as source languages.The news.