This companion document to the Issue in Focus provides educators with guidance to incorporate the content into classroom teaching. This component is geared towards grade 6-12 teachers, with connections across subjects and disciplines.
Contents of this Classroom Companion include:
- Student Readings
- Discussion Questions
- Lesson Ideas/Curriculum
- Additional Resources
- National Standards
Below are some links to articles and reports at various reading levels that would be appropriate to use with students to learn more about recent political changes in Pakistan in 2008, and especially the election of the new President in September 2008.
“Victory for Democracy” by Ron Moreau and Zahid Hussain, from Newsweek
“Widower of Bhutto Takes Office in Pakistan” by Jane Perlez, from the New York Times
“Zardari Sworn in as Pakistan President,” from CNN
“Zardari Takes Office in Pakistan,” from BBC News
“Pakistan after Musharraf,” from BBC News
- What leader in Pakistan resigned in August 2008? How long was he in office, and how did he come to be in office? Why did he resign?
- Who was sworn in as president of Pakistan in September 2008? Describe him and his political background.
- What powers does the new president of Pakistan hold as part of his political office?
- How has the United States responded to recent events in Pakistan? What is the relationship between the US and Pakistani governments?
- The newly sworn-in president has indicated that the resignation of Musharraf signals a return to democracy in Pakistan. What is the status of democracy in Pakistan? Compare the governmental structures and rights in Pakistan with the US – how are they similar or different? Do you agree or disagree that developments over the last few months signal that Pakistan is becoming more democratic?
Lesson Ideas and Curriculum
In this portion of the guide are selected suggestions for engaging activities and curriculum to teach students about this issue – across the disciplines. In addition, there are links to recommended curriculum units that are available to download or purchase from the web.
- History of Pakistan – study the recent history of Pakistan, which celebrated its 60th anniversary as an independent country in 2007. Learn about its partition from India in 1947, and why the country was created. How does this influence politics, culture, and society in Pakistan today?
- Religion in Pakistan – what is the role of religion in Pakistan today? What was the role of religion at the partitioning of the country in 1947? Who are the Taliban, and what is their role in politics and culture in Pakistan today? This National Geographic Magazine article from September 2007 discusses the role of religion in the country in some depth.
- Government of Pakistan – Pakistan is a democratic republic. How is its democratic government similar or different from other democratic countries around the world? Read the Freedom House description for Pakistan’s government. Did Freedom House rate the country as free or not free? What events have happened over the last year that have had an impact on this rating and the level of freedom in the country? Do you agree or disagree with the Freedom House analysis?
- Women in Pakistan – former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was recently assassinated in Pakistan, in December 2007. Learn about her past and her role in the government and society of Pakistan. Is her story typical of women in Pakistan? What is the role of women in society in Pakistan? This classroom guide, produced by Concern USA, discusses women’s rights, with a focus on Pakistan.
- Analyzing Foreign Policy – use Pakistan as a case study for analyzing US foreign policy. Pakistan is currently an ally in the Global War on Terror, and a portion of the country is a stronghold for the Taliban, who are waging war in Afghanistan, and against whom NATO forces are fighting. Research US relations with Pakistan during the Musharraf administration – was this foreign policy stance successful in defeating the Taliban? Why or why not? Now that there is a new president in Pakistan, should the US change its foreign policy relationship with Pakistan?
- Geography of Pakistan – Pakistan’s strategic positioning in Central Asia makes geography an essential component of the country’s history, as well as its place in the world today. Study the geography of Pakistan, and discuss how its geography has played a factor in current world events and as a strategic partner of the US today.
- Creative writing – either, in conjunction with the literature being read in class or in connection to reading non-fiction texts about Pakistan, students can step into someone else’s shoes through a creative writing project. Such projects could include writing diary or journal entries from a character’s or historical figure’s point of view, a letter to a noted figure or character, or writing a mock interview with a historical or modern figure. In modern Pakistan, in particular, there are many political figures involved in the current government changes – have students step into the roles of these major figures (see ‘Pakistani Leaders at a Glance’ section in Internal Players) and write from their perspective.
- Have the class read the memoir, Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time. Have students connect details in the book to events going on in Pakistan today. Explore the protagonist, Greg Mortenson, as a heroic figure, and compare him to other heroic figures in literature.
- The press in Pakistan is controlled by the government of Pakistan, and when emergency rule was instituted in 2007, press freedoms were restricted even more. Discuss the role of the press in society. Is it important that the press be independent from the government? Why or why not? What factors influence the freedom of the press?
- Visit the UN Cyberschoolbus website and have students read the daily news from Pakistan. Several different newspapers are listed, and students could be split into groups with each group reading a different newspaper from each region. What are the main stories? Is the newspaper similar or different from newspapers you normally read? Did you learn anything new about Pakistan from reading their newspapers?
- Pakistan is one of a handful of countries around the globe that possesses nuclear weapons, as does its neighbor, India. This has led to ongoing tensions between the two countries. Use this as a launching point to teach about nuclear energy in science and then discuss with students the political implications of this particular type of science and technology. Is this an instance of scientific progress, or the opposite? What are other uses for nuclear energy besides weapons? For additional information on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, see the Federation of American Scientists website.
- The second largest mountain peak in the world, known as K2, is in Pakistan, and is part of the Himalaya mountain range. Teach about how the famous summits in the Himalayas were formed, the biodiversity and ecology of the Himalaya range, and the climate of the region.
- Teach students about the effects of altitude on the body, and the science of respiration that climbers must factor into their attempts to summit K2 and other mountain peaks. Use excerpts from Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time to illustrate the impact of altitude on the lead character and other climbers described in the book.
- Use information from the readings to review mathematical concepts. For example, go back to the “Did You Know?” page, and look up the male and female literacy rate percentage in Pakistan. Have students look up the population of Pakistan, and then calculate the actual number of male and female citizens who can read.
- Using information from the ‘Economy’ section in Internal Players, have students conduct an economic analysis of Pakistan. Have students use information on government spending, imports and exports, GDP, and the primary economic activities within Pakistan to make hypotheses about why the economy is in its current state. How do political factors affect the economy? How does geography affect its economy? What recommendations would students make to improve the economy? As a possible extension have students conduct a similar analysis of a neighboring nation’s economy and make comparisons.
- Using statistics from the Issue in Focus, and with independent research of their own, have students compile a list of major statistics on Pakistan (such as population, economy, languages, ethnic groups, etc.). Have them create graphs comparing these statistics with the US or another major country. (Recommended websites: CIA World Factbook, and UN Cyberschoolbus)
Recommended Curriculum Units
Indian Independence and the Question of Pakistan
This curriculum set probes the complex, rich history of South Asia. The end of the Second World War was also the beginning of the end for the old colonial empires. India's bid for independence from Great Britain is riveting history. Examining the debate leading up to the partition of India into two states provides insight into the historical dynamics that continue to shape India and Pakistan today and provide the backdrop for the conflict in Kashmir. Includes a teacher guide and student book.
The Return of the Taliban
After exploring the connection between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and discovering how Pakistani tribal areas have fallen under the control of Taliban militia, students propose solutions to these problems.
Pakistan: Country and Culture
Pakistan's political situation is an ever-changing landscape. Despite sharing the same religion, the population is divided into many different ethnicities, sects of Islam, and languages. In this lesson, available online from PBS Newshour, students will learn more about Pakistan’s society, culture, and geography. The exercise in part 2 will encourage them to think about life as a teenager in Pakistan and try to better understand daily living in a very different part of the world.
South Asia in Transition
This educational package is divided into six lessons that correspond to the accompanying video that contains historic and current news footage. Lessons include: South Asia: An Overview; Politics and Government; Economics; Population, Health, Environment, and Conflict; South Asian Social and Cultural Issues; and south Asia in World Affairs.
Negotiate Peace for India and Pakistan
Through research and role-playing, students explore the long wars fought between India and Pakistan regarding ownership of the territory Kashmir and consider the peace talks of 2004 between the leaders of both countries.
India and Pakistan at 60
This lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Extra uses the 60th anniversary of India’s and Pakistan’s independence from Great Britain to introduce a lesson plan in which students familiarize themselves with key differences and similarities between the two countries, receive an overview of events leading to independence, and analyze the state of the issues facing the subcontinent today.
This list of resources is provided if you want to find some more specific and nuanced information about the themes presented in this issue of the World Savvy Monitor. These resources comprise additional books, films, web sites, and multimedia resources that can be used in the classroom. All resources are available from Amazon, unless other sources are noted.
Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West by Benazir Bhutto
Bhutto recounts her final months in Pakistan, offering insights into the complicated history of the relationship between the Middle East and the West and arguing against the belief that democracy and Islam are incompatible.
In the Line of Fire: A Memoir by Pervez Musharraf
Published in 2006, this autobiography of the controversial Pakistani president provides a deeper understanding of the man who has occupied a central role in post-9/11 international politics. Through his discussions, which include the 1999 coup that brought him to power, Pakistan’s tense relationship with India, and Musharraf’s role as a US ally in the war on terrorism, readers are presented with an image of Musharraf and his country that though often biased, provides valuable insights.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
This is the inspirational story of one man’s efforts to address poverty, educate girls, and overcome cultural divides. After a failed attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2, Greg Mortenson is nursed back to health by an impoverished Pakistani village. After observing the children of the village scratching out school lessons in the dirt, he promises to build the village a school. To date, this promise has resulted in 64 built schools and the establishment of the nonprofit, the Central Asia Institute.
Pakistan in a Nutshell by Amanda Roraback
This 64 page booklet outlines Pakistan’s history from the Aryan invasion in 1700 BC to Musharraf’s ban on extremist Muslim groups in 2002. Chapters cover the topics: political biographies, the separation of Bangladesh, background information about the Kashmir crisis, foreign relations, religion, nuclear weapons, political parties, and Muslim extremism.
Iqbal: A Novel by Francesco D’Adamo
This book tells the story of Iqbal Masih, a former bonded child laborer in Pakistan who rose to international fame as an advocate for child laborers and was tragically at the age of 13. Iqbal’s story is told through the eyes of a fictional coworker who is in servitude alongside Iqbal in a carpet factory.
Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples
This is the story of Shabanu, a strong-willed young girl whose home is the Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. A Newbery Honor Book, Shabanu is a coming-of-age novel that follows a young Muslim girl’s internal struggle between following her heart and doing what is necessary to uphold her family’s honor. Ages 12-up.
The Roses in My Carpets by Rukhsana Khan
A Pakistani refugee camp is the backdrop for this story of a young Arab boy and the carpets that he weaves. Appropriate for Kindergarten – Grade 2.
My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children around the World by Margriet Ruurs
Ruurs visits 13 countries, including Pakistan, to explore the manner in which librarians provide services to patrons using everything from boats and wheelbarrows to elephants. A boxed section provides a map and basic facts about the featured country. Grades 3-5.
Long Live Pakistan
Produced in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the formation of an independent Pakistan, this well-researched documentary explores the country’s brief but turbulent past in order to understand its volatile present. Features the last filmed interview with Benazir Bhutto before her assassination.
The Miseducation of Pakistan
Using in-depth interviews and shocking footage, this documentary from the Choices Program explores the education system of Pakistan and the stark disparities that exist between poor public schools and wealthy private schools. Available through www.choicesvideo.net.
Set in a small Pakistani village in 1979, this film tells the story of a widow and her teenage son as their lives are transformed by General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization of Pakistan.
A Mighty Heart
Based on Mariane Pearl’s memoir of the same name, this movie tells the story of Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists while in Pakistan researching shoe bomber Richard Reid. Starring Angelina Jolie.
The Rock Star and the Mullahs: Introduction
From the PBS WideAngle series, this episode follows Slaman Ahmed, the charismatic lead guitarist for the popular Pakistani rock group Junoon, as he journeys to the tolerant, ancient city of Lahore and the fundamentalist stronghold of Peshawar to reveal the internal religious and political conflicts of nuclear-armed Pakistan. Available for viewing at the PBS website.
Directed by Deepa Mehta, this is the stirring tale of the religious and civil wars that broke out in India and Pakistan in the 1947 battle to gain independence from the British. Based on the autobiographical novel Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa, the story is told through the eyes of a little girl, Lenny, who has one leg in a brace. Available through Netflix and Amazon.com
WEBSITES AND MULTIMEDIA
Politics of Pakistan
This PBS NewsHour website contains an array of articles, interviews, maps, timelines, and profiles.
This program from PBS has produced a number of news reports on Pakistan – most of which can be viewed in full from the website. Recent documentaries include “Pakistan: State of Emergency”, “Disappeared”, “Kashmir: A Troubled Paradise”, “This is your Wife”, and more.
Return of the Taliban
This companion website to the 2006 PBS Frontline program explores the complex web of alliances that has emerged as a result of the war on terrorism and Pakistan’s geopolitical importance. Includes online access to the program, in-depth analysis, maps, interviews, and viewer discussions.
India and Pakistan: 60 Years of Independence
This PBS website contains background reports, interviews, and a timeline of events chronicling key events in the history of Pakistan and India.
Interactive Map: Pakistan
This interactive map offers a region-by-region breakdown of the nation, with information on its geography, people, economy, and government.
Jazbah.org - Women of Pakistan
Jazbah.org takes its name from the Urdu word for dedication or passion for a cause. The site is devoted to Pakistani women who have made significant, positive impacts in their societies and includes profiles of these women, as well as reviews of relevant books and films.
Pennies for Peace
This website is targeted to children, and is part of the Three Cups of Tea phenomenon. Students can learn about the issues of education and especially girl’s education in Pakistan, and then get involved in a service learning project to raise funds for the Central Asia Institute’s school building projects.
Activities described in this Classroom Companion correspond to the following national standards from McREL (Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning).
World History Standards:
Era 9: The 20th Century Since 1945: Promises and Paradoxes
- Understands major global trends since World War II
- Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world
World History Topics:
- Comparative analysis of culture and societies
- International diplomacy and relations
- Tension and conflict in the contemporary world
- Types and systems of government
1. Understand and know how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns
2. Understands the historical perspective
What is the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs?
- Understands how the world is organized politically into nation-states, how nation-states interact with one another, and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy
- Understands the impact of significant political and nonpolitical developments on the United States and other nations
- Civic life, politics, and government
- International diplomacy and relations
- International political developments in the United States and in other nations
- Limited and unlimited government
- Political and economic freedoms
- Political parties, campaigns, and elections
- 2. Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment
- 4. Understands the physical and human characteristics of place
- 6. Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions
- 7. Knows the physical processes that shape patterns on Earth's surface
- 13. Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface
1. Gathers and uses information for research purposes
6. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts
10. Understands the characteristics and components of the media
2. Understands Earth's composition and structure
- Science, Technology, and Society
- 3. Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation
- 6. Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis
- 9. Understands the general nature and uses of mathematics