The Prime Minister attributed
the current rise in extremism, violence, religious bigotry and falling moral
standards in the failure to recognize its women as effective tools for social
harmony and national reconstruction.
“So all of us must forge
complete unity and join hands in making this dream a reality,” he said.
Prime Minister Gilani said the
four Chief Ministers have been summoned to the federal capital to discuss the
education policy on Wednesday.
He said education was a
provincial government subject and the federal government desired to take on
board all the four chief ministers to come up with a comprehensive policy that
meets the requirements of modern times.
Gilani said the government was
fully cognizant of the sacrifices of the people of NWFP and he had personally
visited Peshawar to acknowledge the services of the people.
Prime Minister Gilani said
terrorism and extremism were a major threat to the country and the entire nation
had stood together to fight the threat.
Gilani was particularly
appreciative of the millions of displaced people who left their homes, and also
those who hosted them.
He announced that a special
package for development of Malakand will be announced soon as poverty and
illiteracy were the root causes of terrorism.
He said Swat and adjoining
areas were the center of tourist attraction as the visitors from across the
world came to see natural beauty of the area.
The prime minister said the
terrorists challenged the writ of the government and brought a bad name to the
He said there was a need to
dispel the wrong perception about Islam by imparting education across the
Gilani stressed the importance
of education and quoted the great French revolutionary Dante who had said; “After
He said, “Literacy, for
sure, is the lifeline of any developed country and there is, thus, no denial
fact that it alone is pivotal to human progress, most important key to
development, and so vital for poverty alleviation.”
The Prime Minister said
Pakistan People Party government under the leadership of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto launched a national programme in the country in 1974. However, he
regretted that the subsequent governments could not continue it and the
programme was shelved.
He recalled that Shaheed
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during her two tenures as the Prime Minister,
took important steps for the improvement of this sector and the education budget
vertically increased with special attention on female education.
Gilani said the government
had declared Year 2010 as the “Literacy Year” with a focused resolve to accelerate
the pace for meeting our targets.
“With the effective resource
mobilization and with the able guidance and support of all our partners, I have
every reason to believe that we shall, Inshahallah achieve our goals,” the
prime minister said.
He said Pakistan is signatory
to the “Dakar Declaration” of 2003 to achieve 85 percent literacy rate by 2015.
He said in the current
fiscal year, the Government allocated more than 31 billion rupees for the education
“We plan to further increase
this in the coming year. In this regard, I have already announced to raise the
Education Budget to 4 percent of our GDP, from the existing 2.4 percent,” he
He said the Federal Ministry of
Education has launched a scheme of establishment and operation of basic
education and community schools in the country with a resource allocation of Rs
Another Rs. 2 billion
have been earmarked under the “Education for All” programme, with an aim to
providing necessary facilities at the primary schools.
He said the National Commission
for Human Development has been asked to re-prioritize its goals and focus its
energies in achieving the objectives of Universal National Literacy in minimum
He assured his government help
to provide all the needed support and skills and hoped that under the leadership
of Chairperson, Ms. Nafisa Shah, NCHD will be able to perform well.
“Here, let me also caution you
that don’t forget, the challenge is enormous. The follies of yester years have
grown manifold and we need to address them on war footings,” he said.
He said Pakistan today faces
numerous challenges and finds itself handicapped as it bears the burden of more
than 50 million illiterate citizens. He said the existing literacy rate was
about 55 percent whereas according to the National Plan of Action, it should
have been 66 percent.
He pointed that the primary
school enrolment was less than 70 percent and even in this, as many as 30
percent get dropped out before acquiring basic literacy skills.
No civilized society can afford
this sorry state of affairs and no nation can break the shackles of poverty and
disease by remaining illiterate and ignorant.
The prime minister said Islam
makes it mandatory on its believers for every endeavour to seek knowledge as it
regards the seeking of knowledge a sacred duty for all followers.
“Thus no believer of Islam can
be the enemy of knowledge and no Muslim can, therefore, dare destroying a seat
of learning,” he added.
Gilani said the recent
incidents of burning of girls schools in terrorism affected areas, especially
the Malakand Division, clearly indicate that the forces behind such heinous
acts are not the saviours but the enemies of Islam.
“They are the enemies of a
peaceful and dynamic religion that creates no difference between a woman and a
man when it comes to seeking education and knowledge,” he added.
Gilani invited international
donor friends, philanthropists and other organizations to join hands with the
“Let us rebuild the Swat
schools; Let us rebuild Pakistan.”
He reiterated the priority
of government to provide maximum resource allocation for the
rebuilding of the girls’ schools and colleges, which were the worst hit.
“We must not forget that
literate mothers raise literate children and so one of the most effective ways
to dent illiteracy in society is to educate mothers. Societies, which fail
educate women, condemn their children to a vicious cycle of ignorance and
poverty, he added.
He said NCHD is the lead agency
for literacy in Pakistan, which has been recognized by UNESCO. This national
forum needs our combined efforts.
“I will ensure that NCHD
gets the timely release of the required and approved funds of Rs. 2.7 billion
the current financial year.”
He urged the Federal Education
Minister and all the four provincial governments to lend complete support to
this national body and work out a coordinated mechanism for ensuring universal
literacy in minimum possible time.
Earlier Prime Minister Gilani
inaugurated the literacy center.
The function was attended by
Chief Minister NWFP Ameer Haider
Khan Hoti, Minister for States
and Frontier Region Najam-ud-Din Khan, Minister of State for Education Ghulam
Farid Kathia, Chairperson National Commission for Human Development Ms. Nafisa
Shah, parliamentarians and officials of the federal and provincial governments.