A former local official distributed earlier this week burkas among students of a government-run school for girls in Mardan, using the money left with him from public funds allocated for poor students.
Muzaffar Shah, a former councillor of Mardan’s Rustam tehsil, distributed the traditional robes among students of Government Girls Middle School Cheena on October 2. Shah, a local leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, recently completed his term as a councillor.
He said these burkas were purchased from the funds allocated by the district council for poor students. Last year, Rs500,000 were spent to provide uniforms and bags to students of the same school.
The former councillor said that women wear burkas in Rustam tehsil and adjacent areas, which is why the students themselves demanded it. He said Rs90,000 were spent for the purchase of 90 robes for the schoolgirls.
Adviser to KP CM for Education Ziaullah Bangash said distributing burkas or declaring them a must isn’t a policy of the PTI government.
“The concerned former councillor did this out of his own will and without permission [from the government],” he said, adding that they had sought a report from the district education officer in this regard.
SAMAA TV has learnt that Shah had money left with him from the funds allocated for poor students. Upon completion of his term, he asked the students for their opinion, who in return suggested purchasing burkas for them.
Women in urban areas of Mardan district prefer ‘chadar’ over burka. However, Rustam is a tehsil comprising rural areas, where women wear the traditional robes.