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IJT runs PU book fair | UK decision to deport students

PU and IJT joint book fair opens doors to visitors
Lahore, April 23: The Punjab University Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT)'s 'collaborative' book fair was inaugurated in the main corridor of the Education and Research (IER) Department on Wednesday, with the university administration jointly organising the event.

"The IJT and the PU administration have collaborated to organise this year's book fair," IJT media coordinator Rehaan said. He said this was the 24th book fair of the university and the IJT was proud of having organised it. Earlier, the PU administration had announced it would conduct the book fair on its own, but the IJT continued to lobby for participation, weakening the PU's resolve. The book fair was initially announced for April 2, but was postponed to April 9. The university administration was unable to organise the book festival on the given date and announced that it would be postponed until April 23. At the time, the IJT announced it would hold its own book fair from April 21 to April 23. However, due to negotiations between the university administration and the IJT, a joint book fair was finally scheduled for April 22.

Stall count: The book fair has 177 bookstalls from various renowned national and international booksellers, publishers and IT organisations. The books are being sold at discounts of 40 percent, with several booksellers saying they might increase the concession on the last day. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran inaugurated the book festival. He said only the nations that cherish their books progress in the world. "Books are the key to prosperity and knowledge," he said, adding reading books helped promote new ideas and expand thinking.

Low prices: Dr Kamran said the PU administration had organised the book fair so that students could get quality books at low prices. He said quality books should be cheap enough for everybody to reap their benefits. The vice-chancellor advised the students and youth to develop reading and spare more time for books.

Deans of all faculties, chairmen of teaching departments, heads of colleges and a large number of students were also present on the occasion. When contacted, PU Nazim-e-Jamia Qaiser Sharif said that PU administration and IJT had agreed to organise the book fair jointly. He said the IJT members were not wearing IJT badges, and were part of the student committees working at the book fair. The book fair would be open until Saturday. On the second day, Mujeebur Rehman Shami and Orya Maqbool Jan are expected to visit. Daily Times

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GCU chief librarian honoured
Lahore: The Chief Librarian of Government College University Lahore Mr. Abdul Waheed got 21st Century IBC's Achievement Award from International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, UK. His biography will also be included in "Dictionary of International Biography 35th Edition". The publication accurately profiles the foremost illuminati in the world and the entry into the "Dictionary of International Biography" is by invitation only. The publication provides easy access to detailed biographical information from many varied, prominent individuals. The thirty-fifth edition of the publication is scheduled to publish in late 2009. F.P Report

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Govt to contest UK decision to deport students: All Pakistanis released without charge
London: The Pakistan High Commission here has taken a tough stand vis--vis the UK government's decision to deport 11 Pakistanis after having failed to come up with any evidence of their involvement in a so-called terror plot.

All 12 men arrested over a suspected bomb plot in the UK have now been released without charge by police. Eleven - all Pakistani nationals - have been transferred to UK Border Agency custody and face deportation.

"We have decided to provide the students full legal assistance to fight the deportation orders," Deputy High Commissioner Asif Durrani said.

He said the PHC had asked the British government that in view of the trauma suffered by the students it expected an official apology from the government to the students and also "we have asked the authorities to allow the students to complete their studies before they went back to Pakistan".

"The British government had asked us for guarantees that they would not be tortured if deported to Pakistan but we told them that no such guarantees could be given because if the students were deported on the national security grounds they would have to be investigated in Pakistan as well," Mr Durrani added.

Solicitors of some of the students have also claimed that they would challenge the deportation orders as "our clients have been found innocent of any wrongdoing and they were on valid student visas in this country pursuing their studies while doing part-time jobs".

Lawyer Mohammed Ayub, who is representing three of the men, said in a statement: "After 13 days in custody, during which no evidence of any wrongdoing was disclosed, they have now been released without charge.

"Our clients have no criminal history, they were here lawfully on student visas and all were pursuing their studies and working part-time. Our clients are neither extremists nor terrorists."

Meanwhile, Lord Nazir Ahmed in a letter to Home Secretary Jaqui Smith has demanded full apology to the released students from the UK authorities and asked her to allow the students to pursue their studies.

He warned the home secretary that if they were deported then "there is no guarantee that these men will not suffer in terms of human rights abuses".

The police operation was condemned by a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. Inayat Bunglawala told Radio 4's Today programme: "When these arrests took place in very dramatic circumstances with students being pulled from universities and thrown to the floor, we were told by the prime minister, no less, that this was part of a very big terrorist plot. Clearly there just has not been the evidence produced to substantiate such a plot.

"We would hope that senior ministers and the prime minister will understand that it is completely unfair to make prejudicial and premature remarks in cases like this.

"It is perfectly understandable that not every arrest the police make will result in charges being brought that is the nature of this sort of police work. What is unacceptable is for the government to make prejudicial remarks right at the outset."Now that we learn that actual evidence cannot be gathered to substantiate any terror plot, instead of releasing them with good grace and making clear a mistake has been made, the government is seeking to deport them, citing a very vague national security threat. That is a very dishonourable way of proceeding."

Police chief Peter Fahyaid said at a press conference on Wednesday: "These people are innocent and they walk away there are constant threats to this country but we totally respect the situation, we respect that they are innocent until proved guilt.

"I do not feel embarrassed or humiliated by what we have done because we have carried out our duty. I don't think a mistake has been made at all," he insisted.

Soon after the arrests on April 8, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had claimed the operation had uncovered a "very big plot" against the UK. Dawn

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British schools to close on Muslim holidays
London: The British education authorities under new plans will allow schools to be closed for Islamic holidays in order to improve attendance rates, the Telegraph reported. The paper said many Muslim children were currently taken out of lessons to celebrate religious festivals such as Eid. In an attempt to lower levels of classroom absences, Manchester City Council is considering allowing schools attended by large numbers of non-Christians to close on these days. Education departments in some parts of east London, where the majority of pupils are Muslim, already tell schools to close for two days on Eid. App

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For students, staff safety: Schools asked to adopt stringent security steps
Rawalpindi: Commissioner Zahid Saeed on Wednesday asked the management of private and public educational institutions to make adequate security arrangements in consultation with the local police keeping in view the prevailing wave of terrorism for the safety of students, staff and property.

He issued these directives while chairing a meeting held at his office and attended by City Police Officer (CPO) Rao Muhammad Iqbal, Assistant Commissioner (General) Nauman Afzal Afridi, Assistant Director (Research) Khizar Hayat and the representatives of leading private schools.

He directed the school managements to erect boundary walls around their respective institutions. Every school building must have only one gate for entry and exit in addition to an emergency gate, the commissioner said.

Security guards: Saeed said the school guards should be equipped with metal detector and licenced arm. He directed the managements of schools to station security guards on rooftops of their institutions, so that a vigilant eye should be kept on suspects.

The commissioner said the local administration would issue one or more arm licences to the educational institutions against their names whosoever applied for this.

He called for a mutual cooperation between the government and the educational institutions to adopt stringent safety measures and counter terror threats. He said the government would fulfill its responsibility to keep troublemakers at bay, but the educational institutions were also bound to come up with practicality in this respect.

The commissioner asked the CPO to direct station house officers (SHOs) to enhance patrol especially in the school environs, so that nefarious designs of anti-social elements could be jammed.

Workshops: Saeed said the district and divisional administrations would arrange hold workshops on security arrangements for the schools' staff, watchmen and security guards in collaboration with Rescue 1122 on some holiday.

To benefit the workshops, he said the school administrations would have to ensure participation of their staffers in them programmes come rain or shine. He asked the school managements to call in nearby police station for timely action in case of receiving threat from any quarter.

CPO: Addressing the meeting, the CPO urged the school bodies to contact with the area SHO within no time in case of any potential terror threat or presence of suspected person on premises of the institution.

The SHOs have already been directed in this regard, he said, adding, the schools could also approach Rescue-15 to cope with emergency. If any suspected material is found on the school premises, he said the Civil Defence Department's Bomb Disposal Squad could be contacted.

He asked the school administrations to make entry of outsiders to the institutions difficult by barricading surrounding routes in a zigzag course with the help of roadblocks. Daily Times

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