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PU loses opportunity to get rid of IJT

PU loses opportunity to get rid of IJT as classes resume
Lahore, Apr 20: It appears that 'Jaamatism' is the destiny of students of the Punjab University where their "spiritual fathers" – who are trying to impart knowledge to their spiritual children – are beaten up by the activists of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT).

With the varsity reopening on Monday, the PU administration lost a golden opportunity to capitalise on the rifts between various teacher groups to eradicate the IJT from its campus, and the teachers went back to teaching, despite one of them getting tortured at by IJT students and getting away with it.

PU teachers, civil society and non-government organisations, politicians and students were seen united for the first time in massive protest campaigns across the city after IJT students tortured PU Disciplinary Committee head Dr Iftikhar Baloch.

Disappointment: Protests were conducted by teachers in other universities of the country as well, but all these efforts ended in disappointment, as was seen on Monday in the general body meeting of the PU Academic Staff Association (PUASA) – which consists of a majority of pro-IJT teachers, including PUASA President Maher Saeed Akhtar.

There are three teachers' groups in the PU – the pro-IJT Academic Group, the Teachers' Front and the Academic Forum. In Monday's meeting, the PUASA decided to end its strike and announced a "one-hour token strike each week" to protest the torture incident, a decision strongly criticised by other teacher groups.

However, PU teachers do appreciate the role of Dr Maher Saeed Akhtar, who is a pro-IJT teacher, but was among the first people to launch protests against the IJT's manhandling of Dr Baloch.

But some believe that some pro-IJT teachers joined the protests merely to side with the teachers – not because they opposed IJT's tactics – and tried their best for ensuring that the movement failed.

These teachers conducted exams by violating the vice chancellor's (VC) instructions and even warned teachers of the other two groups that not much could be done against the IJT due to "invisible pressures" on the varsity administration.

Former IJT activists also contributed to the anti-strike campaign by holding a press conference to oppose the teachers' strike and also distributed pamphlets against VC Dr Mujahid Kamran. The PU opened after a 19-day hiatus, with teachers and civil society members condemning government authorities for "making a fool of the people" by conducting bogus raids for arresting IJT students.

A number of teachers fear that the worst is still to come as the varsity had lost an opportunity to get rid of the "hooligans", adding that manhandling of teachers at the hands of the IJT would be the culture of the PU in the future.

Decision: The teachers also had apprehensions over the VC's announcement of reopening the university, saying the decision was "beyond understanding". They said the only assurance of the university safeguarding the teachers' dignity would have been the eradication of IJT from the PU. Meanwhile, canteen owners in the PU were seen adhering to the rates set by the IJT's price-control committees and were dedicatedly closing their businesses at the time of prayers, as per the instructions of the IJT. Daily times

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PU to open on Saturdays
Lahore: The Punjab University teachers while ending the boycott of classes at the university have declared Saturdays as a full working days for holding special classes up to June 30 in order to make up for the loss of study caused by their 15-day boycott.

Meanwhile, the university has also banned distribution of pamphlets on its premises.

The decisions were made in two separate meetings of deans and principals of the PU constituent colleges, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, and the PU Academic Staff Association (PUASA) on Monday.

It is pertinent to mention here that academic activities were suspended on April 2, 2010 after the activists of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) thrashed and injured Prof Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch.

The VCís meeting also decided that with a view to facilitate students, the PU transport fleet would ply on all the routes on Saturdays up to June 30.

Resident Officer (RO-I) Prof Shahid Mahmood Gul was directed to make arrangements for extra university buses on Friday evening also to facilitate the students who might take their classes after Friday prayers. All the heads of departments have been authorised to depute limited officials/support staff on Saturday for holding special classes.

The university also directed the RO-I that a constant vigilance by the security staff in collaboration with the police officials should be kept to ensure that no expelled or student wanted by police might reside in the university hostels.

A PU faculty member said some IJT activists had distributed pamphlets after Friday prayers at the New Campus, on the pretext of giving the views of the expelled students. He said the content and tone of the pamphlets were threatening and adding: ěEverybody knows that most of the expelled and rusticated students belonged to the IJT.î

The PUASA also held its general body meeting and decided to end the boycott but to continue protest against hooliganism of the IJT.

The meeting, chaired by PUASA President Prof Dr Mahr Muhammad Saeed Akhtar and Secretary General Prof Javed Sami, unanimously decided to end the academic boycott with immediate effect in addition to continuing the protest movement.

The meeting also decided that in order to make up for the loss/deficiency in the work of students, classes would also be conducted on Saturdays which were observed as holiday in the PU, till the completion of the on-going semester.

It was decided that in the next phase of the protest movement, a token strike would be observed once a week and the teachers would wear black badges and ribbons.

A participant of the meeting said some teachers highlighted the need of academic boycott for a few hours once a week in order to make the government realize the deteriorating law and order situation at the PU so that drastic measures could be taken to flush out Jamiat permanently from the university.

The teachers also demanded the Punjab government immediately arrest the remaining culprits, nominated in the FIR of Prof Iftikhar Hussain Baloch case. The participants also expressed their grief over the demise of Islamic scholar late Dr Israr Ahmed. The news

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PU faculty ends boycott after 18 days
Lahore: The Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) general body reportedly on Monday decided to end academic boycott and resume academic activity, which it had suspended 18 days ago.

There was no official version available from the PUASA President Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar and Secretary Javed Sami as both did not take calls from reporters. An executive member of the association said that the president and the general secretary had directed all members not to speak to the media.

The PU administration, however, sent a news release that states that the PUASA general body had unanimously decided to end the academic boycott with an immediate effect.

Interestingly, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran presided over a meeting of all PU faculties' deans and principals of the constituent colleges prior to the general body meeting at 9am on Monday and decided that classes would be held from Monday. However, no class could be organised on Monday.

The deans and principals meeting decided that remedial classes would be arranged to make-up the loss of 15 working days.

The meeting also decided that special classes would be held on Saturdays till June 30. As the PU administration declared Saturday as a working day, the Resident Officer-I was directed to make arrangements to ply university buses for the students. Similarly, in order to facilitate the students, extra routes would also ply between Old Campus to New Campus on Friday at 4.30pm.

The PU administration also issued instructions to all heads of the departments to call selected staff members on Saturdays for special classes.

The general body in its three-hour long meeting, which began at 11am, reportedly decided to suspend complete academic boycott and resume regular classes from Tuesday (today). Sources said the PUASA general body also decided that they would wear black armbands, display protest badges and observe token academic boycott for one or two hours once a week.

A PUASA committee will select a day, when token academic boycott will be observed to keep pressure on the Punjab government for the arrest of nominated accused in an FIR registered for attack on PU Discipline Committee Chairman Prof Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch.

The news release sent by PU administration says that PUASA president Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar said at the general body meeting teachers should regularly take make-up classes. The appeal was accepted by the faculty members, the release said.

In the second phase of the protest movement, Prof Akhtar said, a token strike would be observed once a week and teachers would wear black badges and ribbons. With regard to the other relevant matters, he said, befitting decisions would be taken and conveyed to the member teachers.

The PUASA general body also demanded that the Punjab government arrest the remaining culprits nominated in the FIR pertaining to Prof Baloch at the earliest. Dawn

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PU planning construction of 40 examination halls
Lahore: The Punjab University administration is considering constructing a cluster centre, comprising 40 examination halls, in the New Campus area to make the university self-sufficient in the examination centres.

According to a press statement on Monday, this was stated by PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran while talking to the examination staff during a surprise visit to the PU examination cluster centre, consisting of 24 halls for 4,800 candidates on the Wahdat Road during the ongoing BA/BSc annual examination.

The VC inspected the examination centres and inquired from the superintendent and supporting staff on duty as to whether they were facing any problem in the conduct of examination. He was also informed that a generator had been arranged to ensure uninterrupted power supply during loadshedding. Suitable arrangements for seating and drinking water had also been ensured for the relatives accompanying the female candidates.

Controller Examinations Prof Dr Zahid Karim Khan, Additional Controller Malik Muhammad Zaheer and Students Advisor Iftikhar Ahmad Chaudhry were also present.

PU announces results: The Punjab University (PU) Examinations Department has announced results of BS Mathematics (Semester System), Session 2002-2006, MS Mathematics (Semester System), Session 2007-2009, MA Punjabi (Semester System), Session 2005-2007, MA Punjabi (Semester System), Session 2004-2006, MPhil leading to PhD in Biochemistry (Semester System), Session 2005-2007, Master of Information & Operational Management (Semester System), Session 2007-2009 and MBA Insurance & Risk Management, Evening, Semester System, Session 2007-2009.

Detailed results are available at PU website www.pu.edu.pk Meanwhile, according to a press statement, the Punjab University has awarded a PhD degree to Muhammad Iqbal s/o Sh Abdul Hameed in geology after approval of his thesis entitled "Role of Environmental Geology in Urbanization of Lahore City." The news

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PhD degree awarded at PU
Lahore: The Punjab University has awarded PhD degree to Muhammad Iqbal S/o Sh Abdul Hameed in the subject of Geology after approval of his research thesis entitled 'Role of Environmental Geology in Urbanization of Lahore City'. He completed his thesis under the supervision of Prof Dr Riaz Ahmed Sheikh of Institute of Geology, University of the Punjab.

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Secy Edu has final word for rescuing 'guilty'
Lahore: Despite three departmental inquiries declaring a principal and a senior clerk guilty of financial irregularities, an administrative secretary brushed the recommendations under the carpet and gave a clean chit to the guilty ones by being 'Competent Authority' and having the eye of seeing 'no malafide intentions'.

Secretary Higher Education Department Ahad Khan Cheema exonerated former principal Government College for Women Sangla Hill Tallat Yasmin and a senior clerk Altaf Hussain of the same institute of embezzlement charges, which were proven correct by the three departmental enquiries comprising of officers even senior to the secretary.

Interestingly, none of the inquiry committees differed in their observations, findings and recommendations, except the secretary, whose words seemed to have become a law when he overruled the recommendations of the inquiry committees. "If it is the secretary to have the final say, then no inquiry committee should be constituted and Ahad Cheema must use his 'vision' and 'authority' to either punish or reward the guilty," opined an inquiry officer, seeking anonymity, further questioning whether 'no malafide intentions' and 'Competent Authority' were tangible reasons for exonerating the guilty.

Interestingly, Tallat Yasmin remained acting principal for over 10 years, and the education department did not deem it right to appoint a regular incumbent during this decade. "This speaks volumes about either the influence of the lady or the poor working of the department, which is also found guilty of not working as per merit," observed the officer.

The secretary did not make himself available for comments despite repeated attempts. "Sorry, in a meeting" was his SMS reply, which perhaps continued till late night.

As per documents, Tallat Yasmin was accused of giving admission to 46 students in the second shift, but were taught in the morning session. She received an amount of Rs 1,65,600 and never deposited it in any official account and kept the money in her purse, which is a serious irregularity. "It makes clear the accused officer has no sense of financial discipline, and she may be awarded penalty of stoppage of three increments and may not be posted as principal in future," recommended an inquiry committee.

About Altaf Hussain, it was maintained in the inquiry that he never brought the irregularity to the notice of the next higher authority of the education department and was equally responsible for the financial embezzlement. It was recommended that he may be awarded punishment of stoppage of one increment and transferred from the institute.

The official sources further confided the accused teacher was being posted as principal of the same institute, which was being primarily attributed to the connections among the higher political and administrative corridors.

According to the documents made available by the sources, Principal Government Girls College Shahkot Sajida Nadir headed and conducted the first inquiry, and upon the recommendation of the inquiry, Tallat Yasmin was removed from the post of principal though not put under suspension. However, she was gain posted in the same institute as a lecturer.

In the meantime, three officers of BS-19 and BS-20 also conducted enquiries. Principal Government College Gulberg (Lahore) Dr Muhammad Zulfiqar Ali Rana completed an inquiry after meeting teachers and students of GC for Women Sangla Hill.

Nevertheless, under certain pressures, the recommendations and observations of the inquiry could not see the light of the day since these were not actualised.

He had recommended that departmental action under the Punjab Employees Efficiency and Disciplinary Act (PEEDA) 2006 may be initiated against Tallat Yasmin. He had also mentioned that the embezzled amount would be Rs 0.5 million approximately.

Moreover, repeated changes in the enquiries also took place in the meantime.

Ultimately, Principal Government Girls College Cooper Road (Lahore) Farzana Shaheen completed the inquiry, and recommended Tallat Yasmin should never be posted as principal in future and as a punishment for indulging in corrupt practices, her three increments should be withdrawn as well.

Despite this, Ahad Khan Cheema dared to exonerate Tallat Yasmin and Altaf Hussain by rejecting the findings and recommendations of the three committees. Under the pretext of the personal hearing, the secretary concluded there was no mala fide intention on her part as she kept amount in hand for payment of salary to the hired honorary teachers for the betterment of the college.

He maintained this by asserting the usual rhetoric "after the careful examination of the record, facts of the case and defence offered by the accused officer and official". By considering himself as "the Competent Authority," he "Exonerates" Mrs Tallat Yasmin and Altaf Hussain as provided under section 13 (3) of the PEEDA Act 2006." The nation

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Lack of facilities: UET Taxila students block G.T. Road
Taxila: Over 2,000 charged students of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Taxila on Monday staged a protest rally and blocked G.T. Road for over four hours to press the university administration for acceptance of their demands.

The students of various departments of BSc engineering carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the administration marched from the university campus to G.T. Road and placed stones and burning tyres on it, resulting in suspension of traffic.

The students were protesting against the unavailability of water in the hostel for the last one month and seven to 10 hours power loadshedding daily on the university campus.

Talking to mediapersons on the occasion, the protesting students said practical work of BSc information technology and computer sciences was being affected because of prolonged power cuts.

They said some of the university's officials had threatened to expel them from the university for demanding basic facilities like drinking water, electricity and good food at the hostel.

The students said they had voiced their concern over poor food at the hostel and cafeteria but, they added, the authorities were unmoved. They also demanded removal of senior warden from his post.

A heavy contingent of police headed by DSP Mohammad Irshad reached the spot and started negotiation with protesting students, but they insisted to discuss the issues with vice-chancellor of the university.

Later, Vice-Chancellor Akram Javaid along with Dean and Director Students Affairs Prof Tahir Nadeem Malik came to the protest site and held negotiations with the protesters who ended the protest after the vice-chancellor ensured them that their problems would be solved.

Commuters, especially travelling by public transport, had to face hardships because of the traffic suspension. Women and children were particularly hard hit by the situation.

Interestingly, officials of the National Highway Police did reach the spot to rescue the stranded passengers. Dawn

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