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First transgender doctor in Pakistan

First transgender to become a doctor
Islamabad, July 09: If strength, determination and vision are the basic traits of a true leader then Sarah Gill certainly qualifies, as one for she not only has the strength and determination to stand up for the rights of her community, but also has the vision to lobby for centuries' old respect for transgender in society.

A resident of Karachi, Sarah, 23, is going to be the first transgender to become a medical doctor in Pakistan's history. This interview was taken on her recent visit to Islamabad aimed at meeting United Nations officials.

"Our community enjoyed tremendous respect in Islam as well as in the history of Muslim rulers," said Sarah. "It was only after when the British came to this continent that we were declared criminals by law and since then, our community is constantly facing inhuman discrimination and have become a symbol of shame," said Sarah, a soft spoken person with a strong opinion. She regretted that the law made by British was still part of Pakistan's constitution.

Talking about the plight of her community, she said that usually a declared transgender is left with no option, but to indulge in immoral activities for survival. "Due to discrimination and harassment, literacy rate among my community is very low and those who have some educational background fail to find a job." Despite all this social injustice, she said that transgender are never found involved in any criminal activity.

"The original Urdu word for a transgender is 'Murat' that is a combination of 'M' from Urdu word 'Mard' and 'urat' from 'aurat'. We call each other by this name," she said.

Sarah is currently studying medicine and is in fourth year at Jinnah Medical and Dental College, Karachi. "My family warned me that if declare myself as transgender, they will stop paying for my studies. Now I will have to arrange for my next year's fee on my own," said Sarah, who still attends college as a male student.

"I do not know when I will have my own identity as directed by the Supreme Court," she said adding that the process of registration is extremely slow and is still incomplete even in big cities. "Almost a year has passed since the Supreme Court ordered Nadra to issue special Identity Cards for transgenders, but the authority is still busy in paper work and nothing practical has been done yet. "Majority of transgender community is illiterate and do not know their rights. It is a shocker for government officials when they have to deal with an educated transgender."

She said that her class fellows have clear idea that she was a transgender, but she has not officially declared that before her teachers. "I am sure that I will be kicked out of college if I do that. Due to same discrimination and social pressure, majority of transgender tend to hide their identity and live like men throughout their lives," she pointed out.

Sharing her experiences, Sarah said that from her childhood, she was always attracted towards girly things. She said that to be declared as a transgender, a certificate is needed from a psychologist. "I decided to go for this test two years back despite severe criticism from my family. "My family tried their best to convince the doctor not to declare me as transgender," she said.

"They insisted that I pose as a boy throughout my life despite knowing that I am not. They said that I am selfish and not considering the respect that the family would lose after I declare myself as transgender. Every transgender has to face the same situation," said Sarah who has also made several suicide attempts to escape social rejection. "A normal person can never understand our state of mind. It is like a soul trapped in a wrong body," she added.

For Sarah, who is also running an NGO by the name of Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), there is nothing that can stop her now from working openly for the welfare of her community. "I am not ashamed of my sexuality and the best inspiration is that my community needs me," she said.

She requested all public and private sector organisations to provide employment to transgender. "If a man can be popular pretending to be a woman on a TV show then why a real transgender cannot make a career in media," she asked. She also appealed to relevant authorities to speed up the process of registration and start issuing identity cards so that the two per cent quota for transgender can be implemented in the public sector. The news

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QAU awards PhD degrees to 52 scholars
Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) awarded PhD degrees in 10 different disciplines to 52 scholars on Thursday.

On this occasion, QAU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai said the university was effectively and massively contributing towards human resource development in the country. He said the PhD degree awarding procedure of QAU was most comprehensive and in line with the international standards.

In Biochemistry the degrees were awarded to Amber Afroz, Amjad Hameed and Amhad Manan.

The Electronics scholars who were awarded degree included Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf, Ahsan Illahi, M Amjad Imran and Akhtar Hussain. The Mathematics scholars included Asghar Khan, Muhammad Ramzan, Zaheer Abbas, Muhammad Irfan Ali, Ahmer Mehmood and Abdul Rehman. The Physics scholars included Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Ramzan, Muhammad Irfan Asghar, Sarwat Hafeez and Abdul Shakoor Khan.

The Chemistry scholars included Niaz Muhammad, Maliha Asma, Nasima Arshad, Shakuat Shuja, Ifthar Ahmed and Syed Muzamal Hussain.

The Statistics scholars included Muhammad Saleem, Nasir Abbas and Saima Altaf.

The Microbiology scholars included Pir Bux Ghumro, Ghulam Raza, Syed Tatheer Alam Naqvi, Taha Nazir, Rukhsana Firdous and Ejaz Rafique.

Scholars who were awarded degrees in Plant Sciences included Muhammad Hadees, Muhammad Ayub, Musa Khan, Tariq Rafiq, Junaidur Rehman, Ghazalah Yasmin, Shabnum Shaheen, Uzma Khan, Sobia Tabassum, Sohail Jamil Qureshi, Muhammad Asad Ghufran, Sami Ullah Khan, Abdul Qadir, Zafar Jamal and Samin Jan.

The Animal Sciences scholars included Muhammad Adnan Saeed, Zertashia Akram and Ommia Kalsoom, while in Earth Sciences the degree was awarded to Shazia Asim. Daily times

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HU approves Rs1,254m budget
Mansehra: Finance committee of the Hazara University Thursday approved Rs1,254 million budget for 2010-11.

A press release said that a meeting of the committee, which met under Vice-Chancellor Dr Syed Sakhawat Shah, also approved revised budget for 2009-10. The meeting discussed financial matters regarding the budgetary allocations, including reduction in fee structure for students in view of the prevailing poverty rate in the area.

The university also established a students' welfare fund for extending financial aid to the needy and poor students. The university employees will contribute one per cent of their monthly pay in the welfare fund.

The meeting considered proposals regarding the amended different administrative positions in the university and recommended considering promotion of employees serving in grade 1 to 4 on the basis of merit and performance.

The finance committee also recommended creation of the post of additional treasurer in the treasurer's office. The finance committee passed a resolution and recommended to the provincial government that the university needed help as it was adversely affected in October 2005 earthquake.

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450 teachers appointed
Rawalpindi: The provincial government has directed to fill in the posts of teachers in the Rawalpindi district, Executive District Officer (Education) of Rawalpindi, Muhammad Ashraf Malik, told the newsmen here on Thursday.

He said that out of a total shortage of 3,000 teachers in schools of the province, the education office had been able to fill only 1,998 posts. While in the phase-I, the education department had to recruit over 2,450 teachers. The shortage of teachers was started during the tenure of the previous government.

Ashraf Malik said that a total of 25,000 applications were received for appointment of teachers in the phase -I in September 2008 and the process was to be completed till November that year. However, due to delay in recruitment process, 450 of the applicants did not turn up as most of them had got jobs in other government departments and private organizations.

The shortage of teachers during the two years period rose to over 3,500, however, on the directives of the provincial government, 452 posts are being filled. Appointment letters have been issued to the successful candidates who would report for duty after summer vacations, he said.

The EDO said that 850 more teachers would be appointed in the third phase to fill in the vacant posts as and when directed by the Punjab chief minister.

The EDO informed that Rs112 million have been provided to the Rawalpindi education department for maintenance and renovation works in schools like construction of boundary walls and construction of class rooms.

He said that over 50 per cent government schools are functioning without headmasters out of a total number of 2,350 institutions. The issue has been brought into the notice of the Punjab chief minister and the city district government for over coming the problem.

When asked that education is a provincial subject yet the government has no hold on any private institution, which are minting huge fees from students and parents, the EDO said that the matter was brought into the matter of the Punjab chief minister who has decided to form a regulatory authority to check this practice.

Ashraf Malik said that the present Punjab government is determined to promote education in Rawalpindi district for which a comprehensive plan has been chalked out. In order to raise the standard of government schools, the government has converted 30 per cent Urdu medium institutions into English to bring them at par with the private institutions. The remaining schools would also be made English medium by the end of June 2011.

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LHC directs VC to appear today
Rawalpindi: The Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench judge, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Thursday directed the vice chancellor of Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) to appear before the court in person to respond to the petition of a female student against a male teacher.

The student (Z) has adopted before the court that she is a student in the Barani Institute of Information Technology (BIIT) that is functioning under the Arid Agriculture University. She has passed the five semesters with good results and now she is in the sixth semester. The student has alleged that the attitude of a visiting instructor (y) was immoral towards her and she also lodged her complaint with the director BIIT.

According to the petitioner, the director BIIT took no action against the instructor. The parents of the students also met with the director and urged him to take some action. The petitioner then lodged a complaint before the VC of the university and appealed before him to take some disciplinary action against the instructor.

The petitioner told the court that after the inquiry was held before the VC, the Director BIIT took side of the teacher and told the VC that her allegations were not based on the facts. On June 2, 2010, the petitioner sent a legal notice to the director BIIT upon which he rusticated the student on July 01, 2010 for two semesters.

Nominating chairman Higher Education Commission, secretary Education Punjab, vice chancellor Arid Agriculture University and director BIIT as respondents, the petitioner has prayed to the court that her rustication is a discriminatory and it would spoil her education career. She has appealed to the court to direct the university to end her rustication and take action against the said instructor.

The LHC bench after hearing from her side directed the VC of the university to appear before the court in person here today (Friday).

In another case, Justice Asad Munir disposed of more than one hundred petitions of the law students, graduated from Al-Mizan Law College, who had been contending before the court against the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) decision to refuse them issuance of law practitioner licenses.

Al-Mizan Law college is an institution affiliated with the Federal Urdu University (FUU). And as per the PBC, the college is not authorised to impart legal education. Legal counsel for the petitioners adopted before the court that it is not the PBC to decide that which college or university to impart legal education but it is the function of Higher Education Commission.

The LHC bench has directed the students to avail the chance to file an appeal before the PBC. Counsel for the petitioners argued before the court that it is not the matter that some provincial bar council has rejected petitions of the students that they had filed before it for issuance of law practicing licenses but the Punjab Bar Council never entertained their petitions, he said. So there is not a situation when the students would file the case before the PBC.

The LHC bench, however, while disposing of the petitions directed the students to file an appeal before the PBC. The news

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IIUI central library launches monthly current contents service
Islamabad: The Central Library of the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) has started "Monthly Current Contents Service" to inform its members about contents of leading periodical and research journals.

Speaking on the topic Muhammad Rafique Choudhry Principal Librarian of the University said the Central Library aims at approaching proactively to its users to fulfill their information needs and for that purpose the service has been launched.

This will include scanned copies of the content pages of selected journals subscribed by the library.

Rafique Ch. added that the university library also intends to disseminate this to all facility members of the university through email as well.

The alert also has a special page regarding valuable databases available with IIUI through Higher Education Commission (HEC) digital library. App

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