Pakistani schools drop Bush tribute

A poem eulogising US President George Bush that appeared in an English language textbook used by Pakistani schools has been removed.

    Musharraf was among the first to sign on to Bush's War on Terror

    The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi and curriculum experts in Islamabad on Monday.

    At first sight the anonymous 20-line ode entitled The Leader, which was taught to Pakistani students aged between 15 and 18, appears merely to list the qualities of the ideal statesman.

    But closer inspection reveals that the first letter of each line spells out the American president's title and name.

    Bush's surname appears in the following lines:

    "Bracing for war, but praying for peace
    Using his power so evil will cease.
    So much a leader and worthy of trust,
    Here stands a man who will do what he must."

    "The poem triggered controversy. It has been deleted from the book," senior Education Ministry official Tariq Qureshi told AFP.


    Qureshi said the ministry was investigating how the poem slipped by the officials who monitor textbooks, but added that it had been downloaded from the internet by a committee of subject specialists while revising the syllabus in 2004.

    "The matter is over now," he said.

    But the incident has raised eyebrows in this conservative Muslim country, where military ruler President Pervez Musharraf is often accused of slavishly supporting the US-led "war on terror".

    Qureshi said the education minister had warned all those involved against further negligence and said that a new English language textbook would be included in next year's syllabus.
    The poem in full:
    Patient and steady with all he must bear,
    Ready to meet every challenge with care,
    Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
    Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
    Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
    Doesn't conform to the usual mould,
    Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
    Never backs down when he sees what is true,
    Tells it all straight, and means it all too.
    Going forward and knowing he's right,
    Even when doubted for why he would fight,
    Over and over he makes his case clear,
    Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear.
    Growing in strength he won't be unnerved,
    Ever assuring he'll stand by his word.
    Wanting the world to join his firm stand,
    Bracing for war, but praying for peace,
    Using his power so evil will cease,
    So much a leader and worthy of trust,
    Here stands a man who will do what he must.



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