IN an act driven by desperation, Allah Rakhio Nandwani, a committed, brave schoolteacher in rural Sindh, took a rather daring step. He captured the harsh reality of his daily life in a poignant video that he shared on social media platforms with the aim of drawing the attention of government authorities. One wonders if he had calculated the risks involved in doing so.

Accompanied by his young child, he demonstrated his challenges on his perilous journey to his school by carrying a gun for personal safety. He was committed to educating the community’s children.

In a heartfelt appeal to federal and provincial governments, Nandwani laid bare the problematic circumstances he and many others endured every day. He emphasised the grim necessity of carrying a weapon for protection from bandits, stressing that it was the only way to safeguard his own life and the lives of the innocent children he taught.

In essence, his video was a cry for help, highlighting the prevailing cycle of lawlessness in rural areas. Before the government could even think about whether to pay heed to the plea or to ignore it outright, the bandits took their decision. Just two days after Nandwani revealed the dark reality of his world, he was mercilessly killed by the bandits.

Undoubtedly, Nandwani’s name now symbolises courage and sacrifice. However, his sacrifice also exposes the failure of governance and the erosion of justice system in Pakistan.

His murder has underscored the urgent need to address the rampant lawlessness in rural areas of Sindh, where teachers and students cannot take their academic journey forward without fear.

Only time will tell if Nandwani’s great sacrifice will lead to some meaningful change. The highest tiers of government must immediately respond with necessary action so that Nandwani’s legacy may inspire bravery and catalyse enduring change, for he did die for a sacred cause.

Habib Hyder Laghari
Canada

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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