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Bahria Uni students rusticated | Controversial promotions

10 students rusticated from Bahria University over protest
Karachi, March 20: The recent protest by students against the ban on Shalwar-Kameez and jeans at the Bahria University has lead to the rustication of ten students in the campus premises until further notice.

Director Bahria University Karachi campus Captain (retd) Ashfaq Agha said that the issue has been blown out of proportion. "The students chose the wrong mode of protest. They are not allowed in the premises because they took violent and unhealthy ways to register their reservation. The case has been handed over to the disciplinary committee for a verdict," he said.

"We never had an issue with their demands but the students need to realize that they are not labourers, rather they are stake holders. The way they protested was a complete surprise to us as there is a major difference between civilised students and street boys and they need to realise this," he said.

The director was of the opinion that there were better forms of lodging a complaint such as using the suggestions and complain box but no one used the proper way to raise the issue. He said that some fifty to sixty people were protesting out of the 3200 students and rest were just a part of the crowd. On the contrary, students claim that they had contacted the administration in person and through email but there was no response from the administration. On the other hand, the director denies these claims.

Capt Ashfaq said that on the day of the protest, a lot of students were willing to change their clothes and he arranged for a university van them to facilitate them. "The students who were concerned about there studies came to me and asked for money as they were from far flung areas of Karachi and I personally gave them the money. They went back home and changed their clothes and came to the campus to study," he said.

Explaining the history and details of the ban on Shalwar-Kameez and jeans, the director said that about four years ago, jeans was not banned in campus but as it is an informal dress and reflects indecency, it is not allowed on the campus. "Jeans is informal clothing and considering the fact that our institute is a coed, it should not be allowed. Jeans can get very indecent as it can be worn in many ways, some people tear and wear it and it doesn't reflect an over all good image."

He further explained that under the dress code of students, every individual who takes admission to Bahria knows well in advance that shalwar kameez and jeans are banned and it is of no use to protest after admission. "If someone plans to join an institute or a work place and knows that only formal dressing is allowed in that very place, then he should think before joining that whether he or she will be able to sustain the rules and ethics" the director maintained.

The students' concern over the ban on the national dress still exists and to that the director has a similar justification, "Kameez shalwar can also get very informal at times depending on the way you wear it. If some one comes to a class straight from bed in Shalwar-Kameez, then you know how indecent it gets," the director said.

Adding to his comment the director agreed to the statement that "Dress pants/trousers and dress shirt is the only fully formal dress that should be worn in campus."

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'Controversial' promotions of teachers cancelled
Karachi: Executive District Officer (EDO), Education, Muhammad Ibrahim Kumbhar has cancelled promotions of two female teachers with immediate effect. He has asked the teachers to report to their previous schools according to original cadre and warned to take action against them if they did not do so on an immediate basis.

The decision was taken after the EDO received a letter from the office of the Accountant General (AG), Sindh, Karachi, which informed him that the said teachers had not been promoted on the basis of merit. Accounts Officer of the AG Sindh Nisar Ahmed Khan went through the case of Zia Tasneem, one of the two 'controversially' promoted teachers, and referred the matter to the EDO Education.

Tasneem was promoted to SLT BPS-16, according to a letter No EDOE/ESTT/ACR/CDGK/1725-1764, dated on January 31, 2009. She was sent to Government Girls Primary/Secondary School, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town and later was posted at a school in New Karachi.

The officials from the AG Sindh office questioned her promotion as they found that Tasneem was actually a Primary School Teacher (PST) and not a Sindhi Language Teacher (SLT) and her promotion to BPS-16 was controversial. The officials said that while promoting Tasneem to the BPS-16, her seniority was mentioned as SLT instead of PST by the then Sub Divisional Educational Officer, PECHS, East (Female), Karachi which is false.

According to Tasneem's service record, she was appointed as PST, BPS-7, Vide No DEOF/07/1990 on November 1, 1990, in Hyderabad and was later transferred to Girls Secondary School in New Town, Jail Road, against the post of SLT in 1996.

Moreover, at the time of her promotion to BPS-16, in 2009, she was working as an SLT at Mujeebun Nisa Government Girls Secondary School New Karachi.

"It is embarrassing to know that the favourites are being promoted in the Education Department," an officer at AG Sindh Office said on condition of anonymity. He said that mistakes in Tasneem's record occurred at the Seniority Cell, located at the Education Office in Karimbad.

Meanwhile, sources in the Education Department confirmed that the Seniority Cell was involved in tampering with the records. The cell, which works under the EDO Education, is supervised by an employee of Grade-14. However, there is no system of check on the Cell and a 'mafia', taking full advantage of the opportunity, is involved in different types of fraud, he added.

The other teacher, Khalida Riyasat, who was a Junior School Teacher (JST), was promotion as a High School Teacher (HST). Her case was quite similar to that of Tasneem's and her promotion was not justified, the sources said.

However, after the direction of the EDO to cancel Riyasat's promotion, she would once again work as a JST instead of a HST, an official from the office of the EDO Education said.

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'Literature is a cohesive force among nations'

While trade and commerce consolidate official ties among countries, it is literature and cultural activity that bind people of the world together and fuse them into one single humankind.

These were the observations of Mahshood Rizvi, Director of the British Council, Sindh-Balochstan.

He was speaking at the dinner hosted jointly by the British Council and the Oxford University Press (OUP) on the lawns of the UK Deputy-High Commission Estate, Karachi, Friday evening, to mark the start of the two-day Karachi Literature Festival (March 20-21), and to honour the young creative writing prize winners.

Talking about the festival, he said, "Our aspiration is that the festival should be bigger than all the others of the kind held the world over.

He lauded the efforts of Mrs Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director (OUP), in the successful organisation of the festival and also the support that was forthcoming from the government.

Mrs Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP) said that the literature festival held at Jaipur, India, last year served as the inspiration for this event. She said that Pakistan had a storehouse of intellectual talent. There was such vast research going on in various fields, Consequently she said, there was so much of writing.

"I have seen photographs in people's homes which could adorn the internationally prescribed history books. Only our approach needs to be reoriented", she observed, adding, "We shall soon put Pakistan on the literary map of the world".

Noted Urdu writer Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi, said that despite some unfortunate developments of late, Karachi was still the meeting place and the melting pot of all languages and cultures. He said, "We have to bring back the festivity that comes from literature.

Robert Gibson, the UK Deputy-High Commissioner in Karachi, lauded the efforts of both the British Council and the Oxford University Press for keeping alight the flame of intellectual pursuits. He recounted the achievements of both the organisations at the international level in the realm of education and culture.

Later prizes were awarded to children for creative writing in various categories.

The prizes were divided thus:

O levels: Winner: Megan Judd, from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Karachi Runners-up: Faiza Ramzan and Ayesha Ashraf, both from Karachi High School

A levels: Winner: Komal Waqar from Lyceum Runners-up: Asad Zaidi and Saadia Khatri, both from Lyceum.

Megan Judd, who won in the O level category, actually looked a shy, bespectacled unassuming child but a pack of talent.

She said in a shy, modest tone, "I never expected and it could never even strike me that I'd be the winner but when I was told that I had been short-listed, I was besides myself with excitement" She said that here onwards, she planned to continue writing and would further brush up her potential.

Her piece was titled, "My city, my story", encapsulating her experiences, both happy and unhappy ones, of the city. The news

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