UK college visa scam | Favouritism in student exchange programme
British principal of college blames UK mission for visa scam
London, April 28: British High Commission officials in Pakistan have been
accused by the principal of a prestigious Peshawar college of dereliction of
duty for failing to investigate bogus students entering the UK with false
The explosive allegation came amid increasing diplomatic
tensions between Pakistan and Britain over who is to blame for the high numbers
of Pakistani nationals entering Britain on illegally obtained visas.
report in The Observer (UK ignored warnings against bogus students) quoting Dr
David Gosling, the UK-born head of Edwards College of Peshawar, said officials
had ignored specific evidence that students were entering Britain on false
papers. He believes they may be turning a blind eye to avoid uncovering
Dr Gosling, principal of the 2,000-strong college for three
years, said that in December he sent details of students who had obtained bogus
student visas, including their names, to the British High Commission in
Islamabad but was still waiting for a response.
He told the Observer on
Saturday: "The high commission is either turning a blind eye or just cannot cope
with violations of visa protocol by local students. They do not appear to have
taken my complaints seriously and have not responded to my specific requests to
investigate these students since last December.
"When officials in
Islamabad realise that something has gone wrong they try to cover up for the
sake of the people involved. But the system appears to be a mess."
Gosling was told about two students by the British Council last autumn. Two men,
then aged 20, had obtained visas by claiming that they would be working on a
council scheme that no longer existed.
One of the two students was
interviewed by Dr Gosling and admitted that he and his friend had gone to
Britain under false pretences. According to letters seen by the Observer, they
obtained visas with the help of a corrupt Pakistani lecturer, officials from a
British charity and an academic in Britain. Dr Gosling asked the high commission
to investigate their cases.
Dr Gosling, 64, a physicist and former
fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, said that he knew many of the people working at
the high commission and believed that it was no longer functioning properly.
"There do seem to be major problems in Islamabad. Many of the staff are
now working in Abu Dhabi because of the regularity of bomb threats. We have bomb
threats at our college as well, but we ignore them," he said.
concerned about these few fraudulent cases because I want to see the good
students going to Britain and the bad ones held back."
A letter sent
last week by Dr Gosling to the high commission, and seen by the Observer,
identifies another student from Peshawar who he says has come to Britain on a
fraudulent visa. The bogus student is still believed to be living in the UK, he
He said that he had decided to speak out because he agreed with
the comments of Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the Pakistan high commissioner, who was
roundly condemned by ministers last week for pointing the finger at the British
In an interview with the Observer, Chris Grayling, the
shadow home secretary, said on Saturday that Pakistan and other countries from
which potential terrorists regularly tried to enter Britain would be placed on
an international blacklist under Tory plans to prevent abuse of the student visa
He accepted that singling out certain nations -- likely also to
include Afghanistan and Algeria -- for special treatment would be controversial.
But Dr Brian Iddon, vice-chairman of the parliamentary all-party group
on Pakistan, warned against taking knee-jerk action in the heat of the moment.
"I don't want knee-jerk reactions. America tightened its controls and
the academic institutions regretted it. I don't think we should tighten it up to
the point where they start going to other countries like Germany. There are
future benefits in terms of trade and the economy. We have to be very careful we
are not over the top."
Pakistan seeks early release of arrested students
London: Pakistans High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan has appealed
to the British government to release the 10 Pakistani students without further
delay to undo the enormous damage done to their reputation.
At a press
conference here on Monday, Mr Hasan said the UK security forces failed to find
any evidence against the students who were arrested in dramatic circumstances
and wrongly accused of hatching an "Easter Bomb Plot" which turned out to be
another embarrassing intelligence failure.
He vowed that Pakistan would
take up the case of these students to the level of the High Court, House of
Lords and even the European Court.
Mr Hasan said the UK authorities had
failed to bring charges under anti-terrorism legislation and, therefore, it
would be only right to release these students and they should be compensated
monetarily for troubles they had been through. "They should be allowed to carry
on studying at their respective universities."
He said officials from
the high commission were in touch with the students - currently being detained
at Bradford, Manchester and Coventry - and had assured them of full assistance.
The HC regretted that Pakistan was initially kept in the dark about the
nature of charges and proceedings of the probe despite many requests.
Four of the 10 students appealed against their arrest and detention on
Friday, four launched appeals on Monday and the remaining will put up appeals on
It was made out in the media as if these students were to stage
terrorist acts of huge proportions, he said.
The innocent students were
maligned. The media has been proven wrong and now it's the moral duty of the
media to vindicate Pakistan with the same amount of coverage, Mr Hasan demanded.
The high commissioner said Pakistan had high expectations from UKs
well-known legal justice system and hoped these students would be allowed to
complete their studies.
He said the British and American visa rules were
the toughest in the world already and only a limited number of people were
allowed entry into these countries after a stringent counter-checking process.
He said that of the 27,000 students who applied for student visas in
legitimate British institutions, only 10,000 were given visas. Dawn
Post your comments
Youth protest against favouritism in student exchange programme
Islamabad: Continuing to raise voice against the Ministry of Youth Affairs
for selecting a delegation of 'favourites' for an all-expense paid trip to China
under an exchange programme, a group of affected youngsters on Monday protested
The 100-strong delegation went to China as part of the Youth
Exchange Programme between Pakistan and China that has an aim of enhancing
interaction between youth. According to by-laws, only boys and girls in the age
group of 15-29, who have excelled in any field and have not travelled abroad on
state expense before, are to be selected for this tour.
delegation that went to China includes daughters and sons of the ministry's
officials with more than half of the party hailing from Sindh and a big majority
among them belonging to Larkana.
The protestors chanted slogans against
the Ministry of Youth Affairs and blocked the Aabpara Chowk for about 20
minutes. Holding placards inscribed with slogans, they demanded a probe into the
matter and also burnt an effigy of the youth minister.
including President of the Voice of Youth Rights Aneesur Rehman, Hannan Abbasi,
Khurram Kiyani, Muhammad Kamran, Umair Nawaz and Waqar Hanif spoke on the
They called for making public the list of those selected for
the China trip and demanded that a high-level committee be formed to ensure
transparency in selection for such trips and award distributions by the
Urging the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice of the
matter, they said that if reports of foul play in the selection are found to be
correct, all those inducted on the basis of favouritism should be asked to pay
for their own expenses on return. They claimed that some of the delegation
members also did not fall into the right age bracket and named some others who
had already made trips on government expense before.
China supports idea of expanding youth exchange programme
Beijing: Supporting the idea to continue exchange of youth delegations between
Pakistan and China beyond existing five-years term, Vice-Chairman of NPC
Standing Committee Wang Zhaoguo said here on Monday that it would help carry
forward our existing strong bonds to next generations.
He expressed these
views in response to the remarks made by Federal Minister for Youth Affairs
Shahid Hussain Bhutto during a meeting with the VC of NPC. Bhutto said this was
the 3rd youth delegation from Pakistan visiting China in line with the
announcement made by Chinese President Hu Jintao during his state visit to
Pakistan in 2006 that over a period of five years 500 youths from Pakistan would
be invited to China.
He said the Pakistani government was also inviting
100 youth every year and the next batch from China was due in June 2009. "Youths
are future of the nation and the hope of the world," Wang said while
appreciating the proposal.
He said the exchanges will help bring young
generations closer to understand history, culture and civilization of the two
countries in a better way. The minister on the occasion briefed the Chinese
official on the steps the Pakistan government had taken for the welfare of the
The minister apprised him of the ambitious National
Internship Programme, youth training and vocational training programmes for
youths in jails, benefits of the pilot project of 100 youth centres to be
established at tehsil level and volunteers programme in Pakistan."Your colourful
dresses and beautiful smiles have filled the Great Hall of the People with
youthful vigour," Wang remarked while expressing his delight on the presence of
Pakistani youths around him.At the Beijing International Airport, the Pakistani
Youth delegation was seen off on Monday by senior officials of the Pakistan
embassy. The News
Post your comments
Unfair demands by school admin irk parents
Islamabad: The deplorable condition of government schools can be judged by
the fact that administration of a girls school situated in the suburbs of
Capital is forcing parents to bring some material goods in order to get their
kids admitted in the school.
According to the sources, administration of F.G
Girls Middle Model School Shahzad Town, a suburban area of Islamabad, demands
material goods from the parents, when they bring their children to get admission
in the school. "They are asking them to bring chairs, fans, cooler or any other
item they wish to buy for the school," source added while seeking anonymity. It
was also revealed that administration of school has done most of the
developmental work with the help of parents.
They said that the unfair
demands of school administration have put the future of children at stake, as
poor people of the said area cannot afford to meet such odd orders.
Principal of the F.G Girls Middle Model School, Madam Perveen Akhtar was
contacted to comment on the issue, she said, "We are not forcing parents for
material goods. In fact, we are just requesting them to contribute according to
their affordability for improving the school condition," she added.
shortage of founds, we are not able to buy furniture for the school and request
from those who voluntarily contribute in the development process of school but
do not pressurise those parent who cannot afford it. She said that well-off
parents often helped the school to maintain school expenditures after realising
financial crises have hit the institution. She maintained that some 400 chairs
have been provided to the school by the children parents.
To a question regarding financial support of government, she informed that we
have applied for funds and hopefully soon we could get enough amount required
for the school.
She said that the administration is accommodating students in
the school beyond its capacity as some 80 students are sitting in on classroom
owing to shortage of rooms while the school is also facing furniture shortage.
"Unfortunately, most of the private schools of the twin cities are charging
hefty amounts that usually pushed the poor parents towards government
educational institutions but the unjust demands of public schools are now
forcing parents to get their kids out of schools and put them in some type of
child labour so that they can earn some livelihood for their families," an
educational expert lamented while talking to us.
As far as condition
of girl schools is concerned, the Pakistan School Statistics (2006-7) revealed
that in Punjab alone, there are 5,085 girls primary schools without lavatories,
5,000 schools without drinking water, 14,000 lack electricity, 4,000 do not have
a boundary wall. An additional 32,000 school buildings need (minor or major)
repairs or have been declared dangerous. The Nation
Post your comments
AIOU walk on World Book & Copyright Day
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will organise a walk
tomorrow (Wednesday) to celebrate the World Book & Copyright Day to promote
the habit of reading as well as the publishing and protection of intellectual
property through copyright.
The walk, to be led by the AIOU vice
chancellor, will start at 9:00am from the main gate of the University and end at
the AIOU Library entrance. The aim of the World Book Day celebrations is to
encourage the teaching staff and students to appreciate the value of book
reading and inform them about the various sources of books and other informative
material. The University library will display the latest additions of books in
its main lobby, while the AIOU faculty members, staff, school children and
booksellers will participate in the walk. The News
Post your comments
WEC students seek affiliation with Wah University
Islamabad: Students of Wah Engineering College (WEC) on Monday
staged a peaceful protest in front of Parliament House against non-affiliation
of the college with the University of Wah. They shouted slogans against the
university administration and the Punjab government. They were wearing college
uniforms and holding placards and banners reading, 'our future is at stake',
'don't we have the right to degrees', and 'don't play politics with us'. The
protested lasted more than four hours. "Our case is four-years-old and currently
its file is lying at the Law Ministry, from where it will be referred to the
The university administration is showing non-serious
attitude on this matter," Kamal Yusuf, a final-year student said. He said vice
chancellor (VC) and the registrar of the university are being paid hefty
salaries but were not delivering their best. "This attitude affecting the
students," he said. He said WEC principal was improving building infrastructure,
laboratories, and the faculty of the college to meet the standards set by Higher
Education Commission (HEC) and the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). Others
said they had protested on the university campus and in Wah Cantt too and
continue protests until their demands were met. Daily Times
Post your comments