February 13, 2022
By Xari Jalil
A tenth-grade student of the Punjab School (Township campus) recently underwent surgery at the Jinnah Hospital, Lahore after he jumped from his school roof. Abdullah Kamran, 16, survived the jump but is suffering from serious injuries due to a broken spine and leg. An FIR has been filed with the Greentown police by the family under Sections 337 (H – i), 337 (F- vi), 337 (E- 2f) and 324, where CEO of the school Ehsanullah Waqas, Vice Principal Maqbool Lodhi and Discipline Incharge Shahbaz Sherwani were nominated as the accused.
The incident took place on Wednesday, February 9, when the child’s parents, Kamran Ahsan received a call from the school admin telling him to come to school at once because his son had been in a fight. Kamran told them he was too far from the school but could come the next day, after which the Shahbaz Sherwani called his wife Hafsa Kamran. According to information provided in the FIR, Sherwani used a harsh tone with her and told her to come at once and take her son as they would not be allowing him to give his board exams or his mock exams and that his ‘career’ was over.
As both parents were on their way, the father once again received a call saying that Abdullah had jumped off the roof of the school and had been taken to Jinnah Hospital by Rescue 1122.
When the parents reached the hospital, Abdullah himself told them that the Shahbaz Sherwani and Maqbool Lodhi had not only made him stand continuously outside the office the entire day, they had also been constantly threatening him with an expulsion letter.
This was despite the fact that Abdullah was an A grade student and a topper in his class.
In a statement, the school administration quickly claimed that Abdullah Kamran had attempted suicide, because he had been accosted for fighting with another boy, and was told his parents had been summoned in this regard. But to this, the family – and friends – have said that the school admin is face-saving and are hiding the true reasons.
“The narrative that is being perpetuated in the media, that Abdullah tried to kill himself because he was being reprimanded, is completely false and very unfair to the boy who is lying in a hospital bed, with an injured leg and spine,” said a paternal uncle, Jibran Ahsan. “The truth is that he was being bullied and tortured by the school admin, especially by a teacher Shahbaz Sherwani, by being told he could never give his exams; for a young boy of that impressionable age, and a high achiever, this was too much to bear.”
The matter went viral on Twitter and Facebook after Abdullah’s mother, Hafsa Kamran, an Assistant Professor at the University of Lahore, and his father, an electrical engineer announced publicly what had happened with their son.
“My only son – a pious Muslim – today has broken his spine thanks to the brutal mental torture of the School of Punjab vice-principal (Maqbool) Lodhi and Shahbaz Sherwani and encouragement by CEO Ehsanullah Waqas and is now struggling for life and death!”
میرا اکلوتا، پانچ وقت کا نمازی،کلاس میں فرسٹ آنےوالا پھول سا بیٹا، جو Punjab school کے وائس پرنسپل لودھی، اور شہباز شیروانی کے وحشیانہ ذہنی ٹارچر اور CEO احسان اللّہ وقاص کی سرپرستی کی وجہ سے آج “ٹوٹی ریڑھ کی ہڈی” کے ساتھ موت و حیات کی کشمکش میں.
اے رب میں تیری طرف دیکھ رہا !???? pic.twitter.com/TCD41PHHCN
— Kamran Ahsan (@KamranA42766683) February 12, 2022
یہ وہ انسانوں کے روپ میں دو درندے، مقبول لودھی، شہباز شیروانی جنھوں نےمیرے اکلوتے، پانچ وقت کے نمازی،جینیس اورلائق بیٹے کو کئی گھنٹے ذہنی ٹارچر کانشانہ بنایا اور اسکے بعد تیسرا درندہ احسان اللّہ وقاص جو انکو بچانے کے لئے ہرحربہ استعمال کررہا.
“میرے ہاتھ اللّہ کے سامنے اٹھے ہوئے!” pic.twitter.com/JuQMmtxhZ1
— Kamran Ahsan (@KamranA42766683) February 13, 2022
Following the incident and uproar on social media, the District Education Authority on Saturday recommended the immediate cancellation of the school registration, the sealing of the school and taking immediate action against the perpetrators. Later the same day, the family filed the FIR.
Meanwhile, the school management has stated that it has constituted a board to inquire into the incident and that strict action will be taken against anyone found responsible during the course of the investigation. Furthermore, it stated that the school will cooperate with Abdullah’s treatment, and provide financial aid if necessary.
سکول میں گزشتہ روز ایک افسوسناک واقعہ پیش آیا، جس میں دو بچوں کی آپس میں لڑائی کے بعد جب بچوں کے والدین کو سکول بلانے کا کہا گیا تو ایک بچہ جس نے دوسرے بچے کو مارا تھا اس نے ذہنی دبائو میں آ کر اوپر کی منزل سے چھلانگ لگا دی۔ pic.twitter.com/BIUERTBx4m
— The Punjab School (@tpsfutureisours) February 10, 2022
At the same time, the school admin sent a cheque for Rs500,000 to the boy’s father which he immediately sent back. Speaking on behalf of the family, Jibran Ahsan said that as soon as they opened the envelope and discovered a cheque they returned it and even made a video of it to prove that they had done so. “It is not about the money, thank God we have enough money to pay for his medical expenses – but is this meant to be compensation for what happened to our boy?”
A CULTURE OF VIOLENCE?
While the Abdullah case has caused great worry among other parents, what is even more worrisome is that some other students and friends from the same school – from both the boys’ and the girls’ wings say that physical and mental torture is a normal thing here.
Information from others from the school – girls and boys – seem to point towards a culture of violence within this particular campus.
First, a friend of Abdullah’s clarified that there was no huge fight between Abdullah and the other boy, to begin with. He says it was a regular argument and it had happened very early in the morning. Just before the exams began, though, Abdullah was taken to the Vice Principal’s office and made to stand outside.
“But hitting us – slapping or similar things – these are common in this school,” says the friend. “I won’t say it happens all the time and with all the teachers, but there are a few who let loose on us from time to time.”
Another student reveals, how he has passed out now, but he remembers how the chemistry teacher used to beat him with a ‘gas-heater pipe’. Another also added there was a lot of physical torture in the township campus of the School of Punjab.
On the morning of February 11, students especially Abdullah’s friends and family held a protest outside the school.
Protest outside Of The Punjab school township campus#JusticeForAbdullah #JusticeForStudents pic.twitter.com/39ZpGPzeIk
— Kiran Ali (@KiranAl23988746) February 11, 2022
Ahsan lamented the condition the boy was in now. He said that the boy was regaining consciousness from time to time, but each time his mental state was immensely disturbed.
“The first thing he said when he gained consciousness was, ‘They are all lying’, which spells out his unease and disturbance,” said the boy’s uncle. “He is so insecure at present that when his mother leaves the room, he asks for her. It shows how they have broken him down. But besides his mental state, the doctors who say they have done the best they could, have told us that he will need physiotherapy and regular visits to the neurologist to ensure his nerves heal properly – even then it could take years. The lower limbs and system is badly affected. Even this is expected to take a mental toll on the boy.”
Speaking for the family Ahsan said that he was the only son they had.
“An A-grade student, and the gentlest soul I have seen – it is just tragic to see where he is now,” said Ahsan. “We have never had any complaints of violence about him.”
Perhaps that was one reason why his parents could not believe it when the admin called them to come. Ahsan says before Abdullah had attempted suicide, the school had been continuously called his mother pressurising her to come at once – ‘as if he was a terrorist’.
“It was a school, not a police station. He could have given his papers and the matter could have been resolved later as well. His father had said that if Abdullah was at fault he would ask for forgiveness himself. Instead, they chose to mistreat a child and threaten him and break him down. They said they would ruin his future, it seems they have really done that.”