Former principal of Karachi’s St Joseph’s College forced to leave Pakistan following threats
Dr. Bernadette L. Dean, who has served as Principal of St.Joseph College for Women and Kinnaird College in Lahore, was forced to vacate Pakistan after being warned of dire consequences if she refused to do so. She was also serving as a member of the government’s advisory committee for curriculum and textbooks reforms. Owing to her position in the committee, she wrote textbooks for which she was seen as ‘secular’ and propagating un-Islamic thoughts.
Dr. Dean stated that a political party was instrumental in unleashing a hate campaign against her. She also revealed how it all began a few months earlier, when her colleagues and members of the advisory board received threatening phone calls. She also stated how religious leaders hailing from Sindh and Punjab visited the Sindh Text Book Board and voiced their discomfort, complaints at the work Dr. Dean was doing. She also received a letter which termed her as a foreigner, working to impose a secular agenda on the Pakistani masses.
Dr. Dean also stated that she hadn’t authored any book of her own but that the reformed books were co-authored by her with Muslim authors. Also, the written books went under a great deal of scrutiny and internal review before being published. The New National Curriculum has made Islamiat as a compulsory subject from grade 3 whereas it included it as part of General Knowledge from grade 1-2.
Dr. Dean disclosed all of these details in an email that she had forwarded to her friends, apologizing for leaving the country in haste and not announcing it beforehand. She also stated that she had undertaken the decision on behalf of advice issued by friends, family and police.