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Financial collapse threatens Balochistan University

UoB only generates nearly 10 percent of its budget from its own sources
Quetta, Jan 16: The University of Balochistan (UoB), the largest educational institution of the province, is on the brink of closure because of a chronic financial crunch.

UoB Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai has been visiting Islamabad and Lahore to plead with government high-ups to save the university from closure, which will come as a big set-back for Balochistan. UoB officials said on Thursday that the university was going through the worst financial crisis since its establishment in the 1970s. The university mostly depended upon the financial assistance it got from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which itself did not have enough funds, the officials said.

They said the university was unable to pay salaries to the faculty and other staff, and did not have enough money to pay utility bills, which meant that electricity, telephone lines and gas connections would soon be disconnected. "We are unable to pay salaries to the staff. The lecturers are unwilling to work without being paid. So, the only option before us is to close the university for an indefinite period," said a UoB official.

Closure: UoB Registrar Abdul Wasey Abid said universities were vital for the development of any society. He said that governments across the world paid immense attention to the development and improvement of universities, but the situation was the opposite in Pakistan. "If the federal government does not intervene, the future of thousands of Baloch students will be bleak," he said.

The university had sent a budget of Rs 651.28 million to the HEC for the year 2008-2009. In response, the HEC said it was unable to pay the entire amount but promised to help the university with Rs 330.584 million. However, only Rs 132.234 million have been paid in two instalments so far. The first instalment of Rs 68.117 million was paid on August 5, 2008, and the second instalment was paid in two phases; Rs 41.935 million on December 6 and Rs 24.182 million on December 24, 2008.

Revenue generation: "The estimated revenue the UoB generates from its own sources is Rs 68.14 million, which is just over 10 percent of the total budget. This amount mainly comes from students' tuition and registration fees," said a UoB Finance Department official. He said the only option left with the university amid reduced allocation was to increase the tuition fees. "Students will understandably not agree to the idea of increasing the tuition fee, and will oppose it to such an extent that the university will be paralysed again due to protests and strikes," he said. The university pays an estimated Rs 532.58 million in salaries to 1,700 employees. Another Rs 18.7 million is spent on other expenses, including stationary and examination contingents, repair works, fuel and travel and daily allowances.

The UoB had also obtained a loan of Rs 130 million from a bank to give salaries to the employees, and now had to pay Rs 4 million as interest to the bank, the sources said. The UoB VC has met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, federal ministers Humayun Aziz Kurd, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Ejaz Jakhrani and Rehmatullah Kakar, and Minister of State on Finance Hina Rabbani Kakar for financial grant. The sources said the VC's meeting with HEC Director Sohail Naqvi also turned out to be a disappointing one, as the university was denied further grant. The Balochistan government has demonstrated a cooperative attitude by promising to provide Rs 60 million to the UoB, but the amount has not been released yet, they said. The sources said another reason for the sudden collapse of the university was unnecessary appointments made by the previous vice chancellor.

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Award of extra marks to CJP's daughter
Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will announce today its verdict on the legality of petitions against the award of extra marks to Farah Hameed the daughter of Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.

IHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam on Thursday reserved his verdict until today (Friday) after hearing arguments by the petitioners' lawyers Muhammad Azam Khan Sultanpuri and Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafferi and Farah's lawyer, Malik Qayyum.

Qayyum said the examination papers could be reassessed, and cited several court decisions to support his argument. He said the Supreme Court had declared rules on reassessments 'null and void'. The IHC chief justice observed that in all the cases cited by Qayyum, marks were reassessed after court decisions but in Farah's case, the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) had awarded extra marks on it own.

But Qayyum argued that it was every student's right to get his/her papers reassessed. He said the FBISE chairman was authorised to order the reassessment of any student's papers. Advocate Azam Sultanpuri said that a total of 1,093 students had applied for reassessment of their papers in the exam session in question, but only Farah's papers were reassessed. He asked the court to withdraw the 21 marks given to Farah. Daily Times

FPSC to hold professional test from Jan 18
Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) will hold professional, screening tests from January 18 to 24 for various posts across the country.

The test for the post advertised in Commission's consolidated advertisement Nos. 12/2008 to 16/2008 and two cases (No. F.4‑259&260/2008‑R) of Advt. No 21/2008 would held simultaneously at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshwar, Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan, Gilgit, Multan, Sukkur and Gujranwala, said a news release issued here Wednesday.

The admission certificates along with syllabi and time table for tests of these post have been dispatched to all the candidates by registered posts and e‑mail, where feasible. No candidates will be allowed in the examination hall without admission certificates.

For further details, the candidates can visit FPSC website: or contact on phone Nos. 051‑9212331 and 9205075/241.

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