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New KU VC & political activism

Aspiring KU VCs vow to counter political activism
Karachi, Jan 16: The Sindh Governor's Vice Chancellor Search Committee conducted interviews for the post of the VC of the University of Karachi at the Governor's House on Sunday.

The term of the incumbent had ended on January 5, but he had agreed to carry on until a new VC was appointed. According to some of the candidates for the post, they were asked by the interviewers to tell them if they had had any suggestions on improving the overall atmosphere at the university.

The applicants apprised the committee members of the areas that needed to be tightened, including matters relating to security on the campus as well as financial affairs of the university.

Countering political activism on the campus fared on top of the candidates' priority lists. They also referred to the menace of bullying at the university. The selection process was supposed to have been completed by December last year, but it was delayed due to the quitting of the committee by two of its members.

The committee had interviewed a candidate on December 11, but the process was adjourned when some members of the search committee raised a few questions over the surprise inclusion of two more candidates after the deadline for submitting the applications had expired.

The late entrants into the race for the post of the vice chancellor included the incumbent, Professor Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqi. The other was the vice chancellor of the Federal Urdu University for Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Professor Dr Muhammad Qaiser.

According to the sources, Professor Dr Siddiqi had not been interested for a third term and so he did not initially apply while Professor Dr Qaiser was out of the country when applications were being accepted.

The selection committee, which is headed by the Chairman of the Chartered Institutions Inspection and Evaluation Committee, S. M. Qureshi, has as its members Justice (Retd.) Haziqul Khairi, Dr Ali Mohammad Ansari (former director-general of health), Professor U. A. G. Isani (former head of the University Grants Commission and vice chancellor of Iqra University), Dr Ishrat Hussain (director of IBA and a former governor of the State Bank), Prof A. Q. Mughal (vice chancellor of Sindh Agriculture University in Tando Jam) and Mumtaz-ur-Rehman (principal secretary to the governor).

According to sources, Justice Khairi and Dr Hussain did not participate in the interview process on Sunday. Earlier, the convener of the search committee, S M Qureshi, postponed the interview session as the chief minister had mistakenly put his name in the list of overage employees and was directed to leave the office as per the orders of the Supreme Court. However, he resumed his post within a few days.

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New classes at KU began
Karachi: Classes of the first semester of the academic session 2012 of the University of Karachi will start from Monday (today). The university has issued a 'code of conduct' for the newcomers as well as enrolled students of the public sector institutions. The news

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KU security declared 'alarming'
Karachi: While describing Karachi University's security situation as 'alarming', the KU teachers' society executive committee has demanded that the vice chancellor get declared the entire campus "a high alert security zone".

The Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts) executive committee meeting was held on Saturday.

The participants of the meeting chaired by Kuts president Prof Muthahir Ahmed discussed Friday's incident in which some students forcibly ousted candidates of the ongoing degree classes' examinations from their centres on the campus.

The participants in the meeting expressed serious reservations over the university's security arrangements.

According to Kuts secretary Dr Harris Shoaib, the executive committee meeting adopted a unanimous resolution which, inter alia, said: "Karachi University's teachers feel highly insecure due to prevailing unsatisfactory security on the campus."

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Plan to improve BIEK exam system
Karachi: The Board of Intermediate Education Karachi has planned two workshops – one for paper-setters and examiners and the other for tabulators and codifiers – to apprise them of the changes it had made to improve its examination system, BIEK chairman Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai said.

The changes pertained to the provision of answers keys to moderators by paper-setters, instead of head examiners, and posting of the answers keys of objective-type questions and short answers on the BIEK website shortly after the end of each paper of the HSC examinations.

The decision to provide answers keys to moderators by paper-setters as against the current practice of providing the same by head examiners would be implemented with effect from the HSC annual exams-2012, he said, adding that the decision concerning posting of answers keys of the objective-type questions on the board's website would be made effective from HSC annual exams-2012 while that of short answers posting on an experimental basis from the HSC (supplementary) exams-2013.

Asked about the rationale behind getting answers keys from paper-setters and not from head examiners, Prof Zai said those who submitted drafts of their papers to moderators for

preparing a final paper had a better perspective concerning the keys of the answers to questions they provided to moderators than to the head examiners of each paper.For each paper of the HSC exams, the BIEK hires four paper-setters and each of them submits his draft to a moderator for a final paper by choosing questions from the paper-setters' drafts and, as such, the BIEK's new strategy to get answers' keys from paper-setters was a realistic approach and, as such, candidates would be the ultimate beneficiaries, he said.

The BIEK chief said the answers keys to be furnished by the paper-setters to moderators would be provided to all those assigned the task of assessing answer scripts for ensuring uniformity and accuracy in assessment work. Dawn

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Divide surfaces in PU faculty over VC
Lahore: A clear divide among faculty members of Punjab University over future vice chancellor (VC) of the varsity has surfaced as one group of teachers is openly opposing Dr Mujahid Kamran's candidature while others are all for him.

Punjab University's acting VC Dr Mujahid Kamran, whose four-year term as the VC expired on January 2 this year, is one of the three shortlisted candidates for the coveted post once again.

Ever since the VC Search Committee forwarded the panel comprising Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, Prof Dr Jamil Anwar, former Pro VC of the Punjab University and Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal Jadoon, former dean of the varsity's Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences to Punjab government, a visible rift among PU teachers surfaced highlighting the 'politics' our respected teachers are involved in.

The situation also highlights polarization developed among the teachers over the years. It is certainly altogether different as compared to tenure of Lt Gen (retd) Arshad Mahmood who served as PU VC for several years prior to Dr Kamran as during last days of Arshad's tenure, teachers were almost unanimous in opposing him.

While PU Academic Staff Association (PU-ASA) has been at loggerheads with the VC Search Committee for placing Dr Kamran in the panel with rest of the two candidates and the PU Teachers Front (PU-TF) is all for the committee.

PU-ASA, the elected representative body of the varsity teachers, is believed to be led by pro-Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) teachers and is supporting Dr Jadoon and even Dr Jamil because of sheer opposition with Dr Kamran while PU-TF led by the teachers close to Dr Mujahid Kamran is supporting him.

PU-ASA leadership is being criticised these days for not holding annual elections of the association and hence it is also being termed that it was working illegally after December 31, 2011 while PU-TF is being alleged of taking out rally in support of Dr Kamran on instructions of administration led by him. Interestingly both deny the same.

However, amid all this the appointment of vice chancellor seems to be stuck in limbo as despite lapse of almost two weeks after the VC Search Committee shortlisted the panel, the chief minister has yet to make any decision.

Meanwhile, in a latest development Punjab University (PU) on Sunday advertised admissions at its newly built Jhelum Campus in three different disciplines BBA (Hons) leading to MBA, BCom (Hons) leading to MCom and BS Computer Sciences (Hons) 4 years programmes.

The move is being seen as a 'gimmick' both by PU administration and Punjab government since admission season has over almost three months ago and students have already secure admissions and are busy in pursuing their academic goals.

One wonders as to who will be target students of the varsity's Jhelum Campus. Sources privy to the developments believe that in the wake of rapidly changing political landscape of the country, PU administration was under tremendous pressure from the Punjab government which wanted swift functioning of the campus to gain political mileage in the present scenario.

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Cabinet approves 3 women varsities, 'knowledge city'
Lahore: The cabinet meeting on Saturday took various important decisions and approved different draft laws.

With Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the chair, the meeting was held at the Chief Minister's Secretariat here. It approved the establishment of three universities for women in the province; setting up of knowledge city at Rakh Dera Chahal; Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Amendment Bill 2012; and policy aimed at plying CNG buses in big cities.

The meeting reviewed Punjab Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority Act 2012 and decided that the cabinet committee would consider the recommendations for setting up regulatory authority and wide publicize these recommendations to obtain public opinion. The meeting decided that recommendations with regard to setting up of information technology university of international standard be submitted in the next cabinet meeting whereas Net Café Regulations Act be submitted again after reviewing its all aspects. Addressing the meeting, Shahbaz Sharif said that the dream of development could not be realized without education and the revolutionary steps, which were taken by the government for improvement of this sector, are unprecedented in the 64-year history of the country. He stressed the need for establishment of engineering and information technology university of international standard in Pakistan. A decision to set up such a university had been taken for this purpose where new generation could be equipped with the latest knowledge, he added.

The CM disclosed that an agreement with regard to establishing an IT university had also been made during his visit to Turkey. While giving approval to setting up of women universities in Bahawalpur, Sialkot and Faisalabad, Shahbaz Sharif ordered planning to set up such universities in those divisional headquarters where there were no women universities.

He said a committee had been constituted to establish Punjab Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority which has formulated its recommendations meticulously keeping in view all aspects. However, before giving final approval to the act of setting up that authority, it was decided that those recommendations be widely publicized for getting public opinion, he added. He said that 575 more CNG buses were being imported and, besides Lahore, those buses would also be given to other cities like Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Gujranwala. Some buses would also be sent to Bahawalpur, he added. The CM constituted a cabinet committee, headed by the provincial law minister, with regard to amendment to section 19 of Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act 2006. He directed the committee to submit its report after reviewing the amendment.

He also ordered the formation of a committee, headed by the chief secretary, regarding provision of facilities to special persons and amendment to Punjab Social Services Board Ordinance 1970. The committee might submit its recommendations after reviewing all matters, he said.The meeting decided that cabinet committee, headed by the law minister, should review again the proposed amendment to the draft law of Zakat & Ushr Act. Giving formal approval to the proposal of Net Café Regulations Act (Punjab Cyber & Gaming Café Regulations Act 2012), the cabinet desired that the same might be submitted in the next cabinet meeting for approval after reviewing its all aspects. The meeting also gave approval to the classification of ostrich as livestock / poultry, instead of wildlife.

Ambassador of France in Pakistan, Mr. Philippe Theibaud called on Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here on Saturday.

Matters pertaining to mutual interest and cooperation in various sectors were discussed during the meeting.

Member National Assembly Rana Tanvir Hussain and the Planning & Development chairman were also present.

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128 teachers get package after 8 years
Lahore: On the orders of the Ombudsman Punjab Khalid Mehmood, EDO (Education) Mandi Bahauddin has paid an amount of Rs. 2.39 million to 128 best teachers on account of incentive package for schoolteachers after eight years while a number of deserving teachers amongst them are availing their retirement on the superannuation.

According to details, a secondary schoolteacher of district Mandi Bahauddin submitted a complaint through Abdur Razzaq, a retired teacher, Government Higher Secondary School, Qadirabad, stating that the Punjab government announced an Incentive Package Scheme for the teachers standing first, second and third in the district as well as tehsil to award cash prizes and commendation certificates. Such lists of best teachers for the year 2003 were prepared and handed over to Bashir Ahmad Gujjar, the then EDO (Secondary), for onward submission to DPI office but he wilfully did not take action on the recommendation lists and kept them with himself. Similarly, such lists were prepared in 2004, 2005 and 2006 but the concerned Education Officers intentionally did not move them. Resultantly, deserving teachers were deprived of cash awards and commendation certificates. Ombudsman Punjab Khalid Mehmood directed consultant Ombudsman Office Raza Mehdi to probe the matter. The Inquiry Officer sought a report from the EDO Mandi Bahauddin to explain as to why and on whom directions, the best teachers, entitled for the awards, were deprived of cash amount and commendation certificates? During the course of inquiry, it was revealed that the slackness of Officers of Education Department and bad governance in the department deprived the best teachers of their awards although they showed up to the mark performance in the field of school education. Punjab government in good faith initiated the Incentive Package Scheme but due to the bad governance of the concerned Officers of Education Department, the best teachers were not given their due right. Under the direction of the Ombudsman Punjab, the scope of investigation was widened from 2003 to 2006 which revealed that as many as 128 schoolteachers were deprived of their due cash awards and commendation certificates. DPI Secondary Education and EDO Education Mandi Bahauddin were ordered to get approval and funds for the payment of cash awards to the entitled schoolteachers as per lists already prepared and submitted to the department.

EDO Education Mandi Bahauddin has submitted a report to the Ombudsman Office that 128 best teachers of district Mandi Bahauddin and its tehsils have been paid an amount of Rs. 2.39 million on account of government's Incentive Package Scheme, following the orders of the Ombudsman Punjab.

It is pertinent to mention here that 128 best teachers of the district Mandi Bahauddin had to wait for eight years for their right due to wilful slackness and bad governance of the concerned officers of the Education Department while a number of schoolteachers amongst them availed their retirement after superannuation.

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UAF to hold GRE test for admissions
Faisalabad: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) will hold GRE (general) type of test for postgraduate degree programme admissions including MSc (Honors), MPhil and MS for 2012 Spring Semester.

A spokesman of the university said here Sunday that the candidates who were willing to appear in GRE (general) test must submit a bank draft or bank receipt worth Rs 700 from National Bank or Habib Bank of the university branches in favour of the UAF treasurer. The test will be held on January 26 at 11am. He said application forms may be obtained from the office of the Director Graduate Studies or could be downloaded from the UAF website and could be submitted till January 23. Meanwhile, Central Hi-Tech Laboratory of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad will organise a one-week customised hands on/general training programmes. This laboratory is equipped with state of the art instruments like Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, Gas Chromatograph, Scanning Electron Microscope and Amino Acid Analyzer.

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Plan to launch awareness campaign in schools, colleges
Rawalpindi: The district health department has planned to launch an awareness campaign in schools and colleges of the district for prevention of dengue fever for which necessary arrangements are being made.

"In a meeting on Friday, I put the proposal before District Coordination Officer Rawalpindi who appreciated the idea and asked the health department to make necessary arrangements for the purpose," said District Health Officer Dr Khalid Randhawa on Saturday.

The district health department has launched door-to-door larvae identification and elimination campaign all across district from January 1, this year. "But after finding larvae of the vector causing dengue fever, aedes aegypti, nowhere in the district after mid of November, we planned to intensify awareness campaign on the subject," said Dr Randhawa.

He added that the district health department planned to convince administrations of both the private and government schools to deliver lectures on preventive measures against dengue fever at least weekly in students' assemblies in the morning. "We have planned that the students particularly from class 1 to 10 must be educated on larvae identification and elimination in their houses," he said.

To a query, Dr Randhawa said that the past experience of launching awareness campaigns in schools and colleges has proved that the students take like issues more seriously and take more interest in like issues. "By launching the activity, the health department can have motivated workers in the form of students in almost every house of the district," he added.

He said that the activity needs little resources while a lot can be achieved through it. "We have started approaching schools' administrations which may educate students with the help of CDs available with the district health department on the subject."

It is important that the district health department has repeatedly claimed to have set a target of making Rawalpindi dengue free district in 2012.

To a query, Dr Randhawa said that his department has already started taking necessary measures to make larvicidal activity possible as soon as it is needed. "We are planning to perform larvicidal sprinkling in the district by the end of February or in the beginning of March this year depending on the rise of temperature in the region," he said.

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ICAP's int'l conference
Lahore: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) will organize an international conference "Testing Times: Reflections on Present and Future" on Friday till Saturday January 21.

A spokesman of ICAP said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would inaugurate the moot, which would be an important forum for policy-makers, scholars, business leaders and our fraternity members to exchange ideas about the testing times that we were going through and about the challenges of future. The conference strives to provide meaningful coverage on current trends and complex issues, which are troubling the world generally and our region particularly. Former Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, President Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Clive Parritt, Advisor Silk Bank & Former Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin, Tariq Sayeed Saigol, Chairman, Kohinoor Maple Leaf Group, Mujahid Eshai, ex-President ICAP, Nadeem Mustafa Khan, Regional CEO, Health Services, Agha Khan University, Prof Dato Dr Aziuddin Ahmad, Rector/Chief Executive Officer, International Islamic University College Selangor (KUIS), Malaysia, Suleman Najib Khan, Honorary Counsel General Switzerland, Dr Nadeem ul Haque, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr Moeed Pirzada, Director World Affairs, Pakistan Television Corporation, Atif Bajwa, President & CEO, Bank Alfalah Limited, Dr Mohammad Zubair Khan, former Federal Minister for Commerce, Syed Shabbar Zaidi, former President ICAP, Aftab Ahmad Chaudhry, Managing Director/CEO, Lahore Stock Exchange, Prof Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Shahid Hafeez Kardar, ex-Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Rashid Rehman Mir, President, ICAP and Hafiz Mohammad Yousaf, Chairman Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee will be the keynote speakers at the conference. The news

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