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MQM Strikes: Waking up to School Closure

Waking up in Karachi, the MQM protests were like unexpected gifts. The announcement of school closures turned my morning routine into a joyous surprise. Frequently when there was political unrest in the city, I would go to bed not knowing if I will go to school tomorrow. I would often gamble not completing my homework due the next day, knowing that if MQM decides to protest, schools will be the first to shut down.


It was so normal for The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to force closure of schools and commit civil disobedience as a show of power that the nuances of the political conflict shutting down schools were lost on me. It was not until recently with a more mature understanding, I realize the impact—how the joy of a break came at the cost of a disrupted education system. It's a stark reminder that sometimes, what seems like a simple day off is intertwined with deeper issues and the collateral damage it inflicts on our education.


The shutdown of schools wasn't just a brief respite; it disrupted the educational routine for countless children. It included loss of instructional time for students affect the continuity of lessons, curriculum coverage, and overall academic progress.

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s someone from Karachi i highly relate to this i still remember how we would all get excited whenever we heard there is a strike without understanding the deeper consequences. There is casual acceptance of disrupted education as a norm. However it is only later that i realised that these strikes that we took as unexpected gifts actually resulted in significant setbacks for the education system.This insight serves as a valuable reminder of the unintended impact of political disturbances on the continuity of education and the importance of understanding the broader consequences of such disruptions.

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Fiza Jaffer
Fiza Jaffer
2023年11月27日

As a Lahori myself, I can feel this too. I don’t think this is limited to Karachi itself, however. In Lahore too, more recently, the protests done by TLP have shut down schools. Furthermore, the moonsoon period in Lahore, which Karachi, does not have further aggravates this situation. However, i think we are being too naive.

It is easy to sit in the financial capital of the country, in our privileged homes, and maintain that our occasional school closures should not have disrupted our education. Firstly, the right to protest for a majority of Karachi, through the MQM is legitimate to the cause they are perusing. If a disruption does take place, is that above the constitutional right of the…

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Hi Fiza, I think I would have to disagree with you here. I think its important to understand that protest is one thing but civil disobedience is another. MQM "hartals" were characterized with severe chaos and violence. This is not a constitutional right of any citizen or marginalized group. For example, when a hartal was announced, it meant closure of schools, offices and any commercial activity. It was demonstration of power and control to such an extent that if a shopkeeper dared to open his shop to resume his daily activity, he was shot dead in the market to set an example. That is what I mean when I say MQM strikes. It was not peaceful protest like you and…

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Esha your reflections on the impact of MQM protests on school closures in Karachi resonate with me on a personal level. It's fascinating how, as children, we often view these disruptions as unexpected gifts, oblivious to the broader consequences they entail. Your recounting of going to bed uncertain about attending school the next day brought back memories of similar experiences during politically turbulent times. Your realization about the deeper implications of these closures and the toll they take on the education system is both accurate and eye-opening. It's indeed a stark reminder that what may initially seem like a welcome break can have far-reaching consequences, particularly in terms of disrupted routines and educational progress. I'm curious to know more about…

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I think these gifts were extremely costly to the entire education system, particularly teachers and students. To elaborate, the uncertainty and stress associated with political unrest can also have psychological effects on all parties. Constant disruptions and the fear of potential danger can contribute to anxiety and emotional distress, further hampering the learning environment. I remember, my parents would be very anxious the day school would reopen questioning if its even safe to send me there and while they worried about this, I would be anxious about how teachers will hurry through the lectures trying to cover the syllabus and so I would often struggle with conceptual clarity. Similarly, teachers were burdened with the responsibility of delivering quality education in…

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Saghaam Fatima
Saghaam Fatima
2023年11月25日

It makes me feel sympathetic to read about your experience with the normalization of such disruptions and their significant effects on day-to-day living in Karachi.I think that we as a nation have very casually accepted these closures as “unexpected gifts” as you very accurately put it. Being a Lahori, I remember the roads getting blocked by Jamaat-e-Islami every few months and sometimes we would get days off because of the blockade and security threats. This is me thinking back to when I was in grade 7 or 8, and it's evident that not much has changed in nearly 7 years. As I also covered in my presentation, the country's political upheaval caused the cancellation of three CIES in the May/June…


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It is indeed very unfortunate that students from different cities can also relate to political instability interrupting schooling. The cancellation of CIES is something so recent that it breaks my heart to see that Pakistan continues to suffer at the hands of incompetent politicians. Also, you've posed an interesting question to which I would say that as a nation we need to have a stable government that does not succumb to pressure posed by the likes of JUI and MQM. Additionally, a relatively quicker measure would be to strengthen our cellular network where online classes are efficiently conducted incase of any political unrest. This would ensure learning continues to take place provided improvement in technology.

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Hello Eesha! Your personal perspective on the political instability in our country really resonates with me personally as well. I also remember how our schools used to unexpectedly close and at a younger age, it was considered just another holiday which we used to be extremely happy about. But when we look at the bigger picture, the fact that such conflicts within our country are so powerful that they disrupt the academic journey of the students especially those who have worked so hard for their exams which ultimately decides their academic future. This really undermines the importance of education in Pakistan and it is sad to see that the government couldn't take any strict measures against such protests in order…

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返信先

It is unfortunate for students like us who did not have the option of online learning back in our day when school's would unexpectedly close and interrupt our learning. I think as Pakistani's who do not have much hope given the extent of political instability even today, we see the option of online learning as something to be grateful for. Atleast this way when a political party decides to conduct a protest or an assassin is planted to shoot a politician, we can still continue with our learning objectives from the comfort of our homes rather than worrying about how we would keep up with the schedule or how safe would it be to even step out of the house…

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