I am an academic, freelance columnist, writer and a social worker.
I have been writing articles for The News, Dawn and Business Recorder for about three years now with over 200 articles and features of mine having been published therein so far.
My areas of interest include politics, education, social and humanitarian issues and economy. Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa is the focus of my interest and most of my articles and features are KPK related.
I have recently translated a book Jihad and War in Islam, written by renowned scholar and analyst Dr Muhammad Farooq Khan the first edition of which as been launched. It can be read on this blog as well.
Another of my recent engagements has been writing a research report on peace situation in Mardan for Oxfam Novib and SPO. The report discusses the peace situation in the area and the threats thereto and solution thereof. It will be published soon on this blog.
I think I am a self-made man. Recently, I have topped all the candidates who appeared at the provincial public service commission for subject specialist posts.
I think nothing is impossible for a resolute man. Just keep on trying, never lose your heart and you will get to the place of your choice.
I believe the success and prosperity of Pakistanis lie in education, research, patience and moderation.
Please feel free to contact me on my email
for questions and comments
Here is some more information about me in the form of questions and answers between me and an American academic Naseem Khan.
Q: How old are you? How many children do you have? Does your wife work? What is your ‘ Zai’ as a pathan?
A: I am 39 years old, have four children two sons and daughters each. No she doesn’t work. I am Yousafzai Pathan.
Q: Tahir Sahib My intentions are to send you some books, because you like to read. For which I need your name as it appears on national ID Card, and your address. I am still nervous regarding corresponding with a guy (as Americans would say) in Mardan – not far from hottest trouble spot in the world. But since we are two honest educators who love books, how wrong can things get. It is worth some risk. If you not hear from me, it means I have been told, or warned not to get in touch with you.
A: My name is Tahir Ali. I hail from a village. I have shifted from there some four years ago in search for a bright future at least for my four children.
I think I am not a thing to be afraid of. I am rather sheepish person as always it is said a bookish person. But if you can fall into problems because of me, I would simply don’t like that to happen. Then avoid contacting me please for our own safety.
Q: Also if you are well read, since you like to write, it shall benefit your readers. How did you get on this (great) track of reading extensively, and writing? It looks like you have a lot of confidence.
A: Thanks sir for your kind intention. I would love to read them. As far as I can remember, I started reading when I was in class seven. It dates back to 1982. I would take books from my school library and would read them. I usually read storybooks then. Then After matriculation, in college too, I read books in English. I started reading news papers at the age of twelve. I also read several digests and would buy Suspense and Jasoosi especially besides others from my pocket money. I remember reading the FA and BA level books while I was in ten though I didn’t know they were for these upper classes. Then in 1989-90 I went through several books. And now I think it is there that I first developed a taste for classic reading, both for extensive and intensive study, books different from what I had read till then. And then I read and read.
Q: What do you think of America?
A: As far the USA, I think what the US is doing is understandable. It is just following what other powers throughout history have done in their dominance and control. To my mind, It is being pushed in its step by the super-power-psyche- that each dominant power tries its best to safeguard its dominance and weaken and defeat its enemies. You don’t let others take your seat that easily. You will always try to maintain your superiority and won’t happily relinquish it.
The USA may have transgressed in certain areas- it certainly did- but then you can blame the other side as well for the wrongs it has had committed.
Q: If you had Alla Din’s lamp what would you do to improve the lost of your co-workers, and students. How many students in the school?
A: Interesting question- that if I had Ala din’ lamp what would i have done for teachers and students. I think they have built their own world themselves and should not wait for someone else to come and push them to work better.
Q: I would say you work under terrible conditions, that are somewhat improving. What kind of newspapers, magazines or books do you read?
A: I have read a lot of books ranging from books on politics to history and from education to culture to religion to literature. I also read in the past many novels, short stories and various digests. I study both a few news papers in a day one or two Urdu while others in English which include Pakistani papers The News and dawn, and some British and American newspapers like Guardian, Washington post, economist etc.
I like books on education, politics and economy the most.
Q: Tahir Sahib Thank you for letting me know. How much do you get paid to write an article? I teach time management as well. I am pleasantly surprised that a young man from Mardan is so curious, has a great deal of energy, and keeps moving forward.
A: Thanks sir for your words of ‘encouragement’. Actually I started and still continue writing for The News on Sunday on social, economic and political issues. Then I also started writing for Dawn’s Economic and business Review. But as education and training is my favourite subject, I also decided to write for Education-zine of The News and of late Dawn’s Education. The News and Dawn gives me Rs3000 per article.
Q: Here, in my state, we spend $11,000, a year on one student. Education is free and compulsory till grade 12 – that comes to two years of college. We provide free books, and free transportation, to all students, and free lunch and breakfast, if a family qualifies. If a family of four makes less than $37,000, a year, it qualifies for free lunch and breakfast. Class size is 30 students, half boys, half girls. You are expected to be in class when the periods change. Buildings are heated, and air-conditioned. Toilets are kept clean at all times. The classes are 86 minutes long.
Starting salary of teacher is $42,000 a year. A senior teacher makes $80,000 – 90,000, a year.
A: They are lucky. Our teacher gets a starting salary of around Rs5000 (US$ 60) per month (around US$ 720 per year) in NWFP. We have often 300 students in a school covering an area of around 1632 square feet. There are mostly two to three rooms for the six classes and one nursery class. There is usually no ground for morning assembly.
Q: What are the school hours? What time does the school start? What time does the school end? Do kids eat a snack – fruit of some kind, while they are in school. Here we serve full lunch to the kids. Lunch is free to the kids, who are below the poverty line – about $37,000, a year for a family of four.
A: We start at eight these days and the closure time is one pm. No they can only dream of having such luxuries here. Thank
Q: Tell me something about your classes, what grade, how many students, how many times do you teach a day, how long are your periods, and describe the furniture of your classroom. Is it an all boys’ school?
A: I have taught all these classes during the 20+ years of my service. At present I teach the intermediate class. I like both teh junior and senior classes.
There are usually 50 to 60 students in each class and the strength could increase depending upon the place where the school is located. During a training workshop for teachers, a teacher told me there were 120 students in his classes.
Most of the primary schools here don’t follow a period system to say the truth. The teachers go to their classes when and if they like. Most usually avoid going there and like to chat. My colleagues in school however are dutiful and avoid wasting too much of their time.
Where there are periods, they commonly are of 35 to forty minutes’ duration.
There is usually no furniture for boys and they sit on bare ground. There are no mats for them. There even were times when chairs for the teachers are also in shortage but now things have improved. Mind you this is about schools located in the city. The conditions of schools in rural areas can be gauged. Please have a look at the attached document I wrote for The News as a reporter from my city about district Mardan which was published in it some four months back. The other is about shortage of books.
Q: Tell me about the conditions of toilets for your students, and toilets for the teachers, how many teachers in the school, and what the salary range of teachers is.
A: There were none both for teachers and students but now they have been built. But they have been poorly made and are nonoperational so far because the contractor and constructor has not visited the site for about an year now when it were left in the present state. They are locked at present and will do unless it is completed and handed over to the department. For the time being, teachers and students have to go in the fields outside the schools to relieve themselves.
There were six teachers in our primary school. And it is a lucky one in this connection. There are somewhere two teachers, even one in some, teach hundreds of students. Now I work at higher secondary schools where there are over 20 teachers.
They are mainly in the profession not by their deliberate choice but by chance- because they could not find another job, they opted for it. Teachers are paid low. A primary teacher’s take home salary starts from Rs.5000 and may go upto 20000 at the maximum in which it is very hard for them to even feed their families. It was much low only recently. During the last few years, it was raised to the present state.