A school in Pakistan fired a teacher because he was a "handsome man" and his moustache gave "liberal ideas" to his students, according to a Facebook post written by the teacher himself.
Haseeb Ali Chishti from Islamabad wrote the post on 29 August, stating that he found the reason given by the school for his removal "funny".
"Being told 'your moustache gives liberal ideas to students' and 'you're a young, handsome man... it will distract our girls and faculty' is probably the funniest reason for being let go from a job," Chishti wrote in the post.
He blamed the incident on the "the mindset prevalent in the education sector in Pakistan". Chishti highlighted the conservative approach of most schools in the country that does not approve of students from opposite sexes interacting with each other.
Chishti, who has reportedly worked in several educational organisations, also mentioned that he has witnessed "school owners taking pride in their conservative outlook and shunning programmes such as drama and dance for being vulgar". He added that the trend was spreading and intensifying.
"The only thing wrong with a girl talking to a boy in school is the MINDSET that assumes this exchange must be immoral," he added.
Talking exclusively to IBTimes UK, Chishti said there was a need for "more openness and expression in schools all over" the country.
"We should teach children to embrace who they are and to help them build strong characters and principles.
"As a Theatre teacher, I always encourage my students to express themselves and get creative. I guess with the moustache my students know I walk the walk," he stated, terming the school's decision as "ridiculous".
He mentioned that he was currently helping run an Arts and Theatre collective in Islamabad, called Theatre Wallay. The group actively works with the objective "Theatre for Social Change".
He added that they have recently acquired a large studio space and are working towards opening an Arts school for underprivileged students in Islamabad. The school will teach children basic literacy, numeracy, life and art skills like carpentry, bharatnatyam, theatre and music. They also have a Facebook page titled Theatre Wallay that showcases their work and efforts towards bringing social change in the country, he added.
Meanwhile, Chishti's facebook post garnered support from many of his friends and acquaintances who shared similar instances.
In the comments section, a woman narrated a similar experience when she was studying in a medical college about 16 years ago. She wrote that a male teacher, despite being married with two kids, was removed from the job for being handsome.
"Nothing changed .... When i was in medical college fourth year, we had a very nice doctor in internal medicine and he was fired bcoz he was very handsome though he was married and had two kids but his looks were very disturbing to the authorities. Sick minds !!! When they fired him we the girls went on strike and the boys fully supported us .... In the end they restricted that doctor to only ward not teaching," the comment read.
She also went on to say that this conservative outlook was the reason for many intellectual people leaving Pakistan.
This article was originally published on 6 September 2017