(First Published December 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm, big thanks to AKHTAR MASOOD for writing, sharing and permitting reprint)

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People in Pakistan (and perhaps overseas too), claim that the people of FATA are illiterate and have no value for education. Probably they are right. But how did this happen? And who is responsible?

I am a young man from FATA Tribal area, a Mehsood from Waziristan to be exact. Let me try to explain why my people have no education.

Before analyzing my people, I thought, I should see what short comings I had in myself. I found embedded in myself, many problems. I was wondering from where to start.

Let me start with my body. I feel extreme pain and all my body aches. But then, I thought, these pains were not the reason for the lack of my education. Focusing on my body, it occurred to me that most severe physical problem that affects me, is the stammering and stuttering of my tongue.

It occurred to me that in order for me communicate talk to other people for my problems I needed to speak properly or else no one would be able to understand me. I can speak a little with stammering and stuttering accent but it’s not enough for public.

One of my cousins, working as a driver in Dubai, advised me to consult a ‘speech therapist’. It was the first time I heard the term and asked him to explain who or what that was. After understanding, it dawned upon me that I have no money for such types of treatment.

The region I live in has no doctor for such facilities. For the treatment of this disease, I will have to go Peshawar, Islamabad, Karachi or other big cities of Pakistan. But thinking to myself, I was wondering why such facilities are not available in our area.

About the money, I thought maybe, if I sell a few of my animals such as the Goats, Sheep or the cows maybe I could arrange some amount for the treatment. I wondered if such facilities were available in my area, I would not have to spend 10 times a person living in the big city.
Cursing the FATA region, I thought to myself why we don’t have development. We don’t have schools, and the ones we have act as Hujra’s for the loyal part of tribal elders.

Universities, Medical Colleges, Engineering Colleges and Technical Colleges etc, are just the part of my fantasy. I wonder why such facilities are not available in my destitute region. For those who want these facilities they have to spend 10 times more than a person in the city. A person who wants these has to spend on fare from village to university and from university to village or spend on hostel accommodation and many other expenses.  Alas if such facilities were available in FATA.

The people who send their sons and daughters to those universities are already acquainted to some extent with the urbanized life but there are many who have no knowledge about university life, in Islamabad and Lahore.

One other hilarious facility given by the government to the student of FATA which is called “Quota System” this is good step of the government because, Bhagtay chor ki langoti hee sahi, “a running thief’s underwear is right” or get what you can before you lose it all.

If government has neglected FATA since with its inception, on other side, there are some special seats which have been reserved on the basis of Quota for FATA student and people in various educational institutions of Pakistan. This system is not less than the punishment for the student of FATA. Because they are traveling hundred and thousand miles away to Sindh, Balochistan and Peshawar etc and spending Rs 10 instead Rs 1.

If the government is too devoted with FATA, they should have endowed FATA with all these facilities including the removal of the draconian law, so that to save FATA people and students from these punishments and also to save their domestic animals from selling out.

Go and inspect the schools of FATA more than 80% schools are being used as guest houses and Hujras. My people have no higher education as they don’t have a sound base of education. If the foundation of a building is weak, how can you raise the building. And this is the reason they remain away from value education and are illiterate. Who is responsible for this? I wish you can tell me!!
FATA is a part of Pakistan but why do different laws apply here?

Anyway finally I managed to arrange the money and someone in the city helped find a doctor for my problem. The good doctor examined me and inquired.

Finally he told me the treatment. “The treatment for a stammering and stuttering tongue is to get a good education.”

Health Care Professional,
Health Department KP



Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”



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