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Public sector universities illegal key posts

Varsity officials enjoy key posts 'illegally'
Lahore, Nov 29: The lethargic attitude of government officials, their lukewarm response and lack of coordination regarding issues of immediate attention have been a matter of concern for stakeholders over the years.

This not only exposes the so-called good governance but also shows as to how the government remains unmoved and does not bother to introduce reforms to benefit the masses.

The most recent example of official sluggishness and indifference is related to public sector universities of the province.

In the first case, the academic circles are quite critical of top officials of the Higher Education Department Punjab for delaying the removal of dozens of officials of public varsities whose appointment against key posts is being dubbed illegal in the wake of October 5 judgment of a division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The division bench of the LHC had declared the appointment of Dr Shahid Mehboob Rana as Acting Vice-Chancellor Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad, by the governor Punjab as illegal because it was made without seeking advice of the chief minister.

After the LHC judgment, the Higher Education Department had sought advice from the Punjab Law Department asking whether the department, after the court verdict, was required to process the case regarding cancellation of all orders/notifications issued by the governor without seeking the chief ministerís advice.

The department had received the reply on October 14 from the Law Department according to which all such orders without seeking advice of the CM were illegal.

It is pertinent to mention here that since then, no action has been taken against the top officials of different varsities, including a pro vice-chancellor (PVC) and deans of various faculties, and they are still enjoying the coveted posts, illegally.

The department officials claim that the delay was witnessed in collection of data from different varsities across the province. Nevertheless, one wonders as to how the data collection requires so much time in this era of computer technology. However, the stakeholders term the same sheer sluggishness on part of departmentís bosses was behind the delay as they could not initiate action despite passage of over a month. They say the delay has been greatly irking other eligible candidates who can be posted against these important slots.

Similarly, the stakeholders are also critical of the Higher Education Department for delaying the stopgap arrangements for the University of Education (UoE) and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) following the expiry of tenure of vice-chancellors (VCs) of both the varsities on November 20, 2010. It is also important to note here that since then both the varsities have been functioning without VCs. As per prevailing procedure, regular VCs are appointed through VC Search Committee process while temporary arrangements are made under which an official looks after the office of the VC.

The terms of four other VCs will expire in the near future, including those of Government College University Lahoreís Prof Dr Khalid Aftab (February 25, 2011), Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multanís Dr Muhammad Zafarullah (January 26, 2011) and University of Sargodhaís Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Ch (February 11, 2011) and Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindiís Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah Khan (March 11, 2011).According to stakeholders, the department being well-informed should take up the cases before expiry of term of a VC so that similar situation does not surface in future and varsities do not suffer owing to absence of top administrators. Academic circles are also demand the government cut through the red tape and introduce reforms for transparent and quick handling of the cases of public interest.

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Old Ravians Union executive committee elected
Lahore: The Government College University's alumni on Sunday elected the new Executive Committee of the Old Ravians Union (ORU) for session 2010-2012.

Noted nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand has been already elected as the new President of the Union unopposed while a tough contest was held between Mansoor Feroze Khan and Amanat Alik Ghalib for the office of Vice President. However, Feroze Khan won the seat by 125 votes.

Mrs Talat Altaf Khan was elected as Vice President (Ladies) while senior advocate Mian Muhammad Ahmad Chhachhar and Javiad Qasim Warriach secured the seats of Secretary General and Treasurer respectively.

Ghulam Murtaza Paracha, Prof Ahmed Hussain, Taha Sadaqat, Saeed Ahmed Buksh, Kazi Afaq Hussain, Zoriaz Lashari, Shamimur Rehman Malik and Dr Salman Haider were elected Executive Members of the ORU.

The polling was held from 11am to 5pm.

Earlier, ORU outgoing President Kamran Lashari chaired the Annual General Body meeting of the Union which approved the ORU accounts for the year 2008-10.

GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Aftab and Dr Samar Mubarakmand were also present. The General Body also passed a resolution to appreciate the valuable services of Kamran Lashari to make the Union a financially strong and dynamic organisation.

The meeting also proposed a couple of amendments in the Constitution of the Union. However, it was amicably decided that these amendments would be discussed and shaped up in the next Executive Committee meeting and then would be presented before the General Body for approval. The oath-taking ceremony of the new Executive Committee would be held next month.

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GCU awards five PhDs
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) has produced four Doctors of Philosophy in the field of Chemistry and one in the filed of Urdu. According to a press statement, Tariq Hussain Zaidi has been awarded a PhD in Urdu while Peter John, Ms Sammia Yasmin, Ayesha Mohy-ud-Din and Syed Tanveer Hussain have been notified PhDs in chemistry after approval of their theses.

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CM lays foundation of medical college in Sahiwal
Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that despite a cut in the provincial budget due to floods, work on public welfare projects would continue to provide basic facilities to the people.

Addressing a joint meeting of administration and public representatives in Sahiwal Saturday, he said areas of the province would be given preference in the provision of development funds which were more backward and poor. He announced development projects of billions of rupees for district Sahiwal which included establishment of a medical college at a cost of Rs 1 billion in Sahiwal. He said an amount of Rs 500 million was being released immediately for the medical college.

He announced laying of sewerage at a cost of Rs 233.5 million in Sahiwal city and a girls high school at a cost of Rs 120 milion.

He said a 36km long dual carriage way was being constructed from Sahiwal to Pakpattan and the Punjab government was spending Rs 1.18 billion on it. "Similarly, a gymnasium for citizens and Government Polytechnic Institute for women are being built at a cost of Rs 170 million," he added. He announced Rs 230 million for construction and widening of a road from Arif Wala Chowk to Adda-46. "A cardiac unit will be set up in the tehsil headquarters hospital in Cheechawatni," he said and added that he would himself supervise construction and pace of all development projects.

He also announced establishment of a Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Sahiwal. He directed the district administration to shift the existing grain market and fruit and vegetable markets outside the city within a week.

Expressing his views on a briefing on law and order, he said accused involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom, dacoities and gang-rape were enemies of humanity and the government was determined to purging society of them. At the end of his visit, he laid foundation of Sahiwal Medical College and also inaugurated important roads being constructed under the city package.

Greece Ambassador: Greece Ambassador in Pakistan Petros Mavroidis met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here.

Matters of mutual interest and cooperation in various sectors were discussed during the meeting. MNA Pervaiz Malik, Planning & Development Chairman Javed Aslam and Commerce Secretary Fazal Abbas Maken were also present. Talking to the ambassador, Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan was facing security problems, however, the entire nation was united in the war against terrorism. "We will definitely succeed in eliminating terrorism from the country," he added.

"There is a need to promote economic and trade activities between Pakistan and Greece. A delegation from Punjab can be sent to Greece for ascertaining cooperation in various sectors between Punjab and Greece," he added.

Ambassador Petros Mavroidis said that a large number of Pakistanis were living in Greece and playing an important role in the development of various sectors. He said practical steps would be taken for the promotion of cooperation between Pakistan and Greece and exchange of delegations between both countries was of great importance. He said he would welcome a delegation from Punjab for enhancing economic and trade relations between the two countries and if the chief minister led the delegation, it would be a matter of pleasure for him.

Senior Minister of Sindh for Education Pir Mazharul Haq also called on the chief minister and discussed with him matters of mutual interest.

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KEMU FCPS programme lauded
Lahore: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) has pointed out that King Edward Medical University (KEMU) has launched a merit based system of inductions into FCPS residency programme twice an year and this would not only uphold merit but would also ensure that top merited doctors were not denied training slots in the institute just because they have no political influence.

The association office-bearers including Dr Rana Sohail, Dr Salman Kazmi, Dr Aurangzeb, Dr Aslam Rao, Dr Khuda Bux, Dr Kamran, Dr Khalid ldrees and others in a press release here on Sunday welcomed the decision of the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) administration of accepting the demand of YDA. After this decision, inductions to FCPS programme would be done in KEMU in January and July just like it was done in other institutes and proper applications would be collected, merit list would be displayed and then slots would be given to candidates on merit.

Previously these slots were offered by professors without making any proper merit list and on the basis of "sifarish".

It is worth mentioning that Children Hospital Lahore, Sheikh Zayed Hospital Lahore, and Nishtar Hospital Multan are already following the same system of merit based inductions to FCPS training programme, where interviews are also conducted while other Medical Institutions have failed to develop any merit based system of inductions in this regard.

YDA has appealed to the Punjab Health Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad to direct all institutions to follow a merit based system of inductions into Post Graduate training programmes across Punjab.

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Teachers 'black day'
Lahore: Joint Action Committee (JAC) of teachers and students has announced observing November 30 as a 'black day'.A press statement said rallies and protest demonstrations would be organised at district level across the province to protest against various anti-education policies including transfers of teachers, new promotion policy, increase in fees and establishment of Board of Governors in selected government colleges of the province.

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PU teacher cleared of harassment charges
Lahore: Muslim Town Police on Saturday submitted an investigation report on the harassment charge on Punjab University's College of Earth and Environmental Sciences Principal Prof Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch declaring him innocent after which the court disposed of Baloch's interim bail petition.

The police had booked Iftikhar Baloch in two cases over allegations of sexually harassing and intimidating two female staffers. Later, he was suspended by the Punjab University.

On Saturday, the police submitted the report before Additional District and Sessions Judge Mohsin Raza. The report said that on the date of alleged incident, Baloch was not present in the City as he was busy helping out flood affectees in the area of Multan. He was officially on leave and his telephone record further assured his presence in the said area, the report added, adding that there was not a single evidence available against the accused thus he was innocent.

It is pertinent to mention that Mr Baloch had secured interim bail so that he could prove himself innocent.

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Students urged to work on research projects
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has urged the varsity graduates to undertake maximum research projects for production and utilisation of new knowledge for long-term socio-economic progress of the country.

He was addressing an annual get-together of the alumni of the PU Institute of Social Studies, New Campus, on Sunday. Institute's Director Prof Dr Muhammad Hafeez, University of Gujrat's Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin and former faculty members also spoke at the function which was attended by a large number of old students.

The PU VC said the major difference between the technologically advanced and developing countries today was their capacity to produce and apply new scientific knowledge to various spheres of life. He said Pakistan could also achieve economic superiority and high level of standards of living through conquering new frontiers of knowledge and enlightenment.

He also emphasised the varsity social scientists and experts to produce new researches for resolving myriad of problems in country's social life to make their research studies useful for the society and nation. He said our students and scholars should minutely study the emerging developments on the international horizon to understand the real motives behind them.

Dr Kamran further said the Muslim countries suffered huge economic losses and lost a phenomenal amount of 12 trillion dollars in the Middle East wars in the past while huge profit was reaped by the US because they resulted in flourishing of the American war industry. Now under the cover of bogy of terrorism, the America has not only set up its military bases in 32 countries but has also been able to enact new legislation within the country under which it can indefinitely detain anybody without granting him any right of appeal against his confinement.

He said under this pretext, the USA had also established its bases in Africa where there was no incidence of terrorism which, according to a writer, amounted to a hammer looking for a nail.

Dr Nizamuddin in his brief address said that the Punjab University was the mother of country's all universities and it had also played a contributory role in the successful establishment and running of the University of Gujrat.

Dr Muhammad Hafeez also spoke. Later, the PU VC gave away life achievement award shields to the participating old faculty of the Institute.

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Increase funds for education: VCs
Lahore: The vice-chancellors of public sector universities across the country have unanimously resolved to demand the government keep higher education a federal subject instead of giving it to provinces under the 18th Amendment.

They also demanded allocation of minimum four percent of the GDP for education in the next budget, saying the government should keep the education budget sacrosanct.

The demands were presented in a press briefing after the VCs Committee Meeting which held at the Punjab University (PU) Old Campus here on Saturday.

University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, VC Engineer Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, flanked by PU VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and Rector of the National Textile University (NTU) Faisalabad Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad, briefed the media.

The vice-chancellors committee meeting attended by around 40 VCs was presided over by Engr Imtiaz Gilani who said that the VCs had resolved that the government must allocate a minimum of four percent of GDP for education sector in the next budget for achieving higher literacy rate and radically improving the standard of education.

He said the VCs also believed that after being giving to the provinces the standard of higher education could fall while uniformity could also suffer.

ìWe believe that by doing so the federation as a whole could also suffer,î he said.

Engr Gilani further said it had also been decided that from now onward, the meetings of the VCs Committee would be held in varsities of different provinces across the country instead at the HEC. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier, the meeting used to be held at the HEC Islamabad alone.

The VCs committee also appreciated the federal government for releasing funds for immediate requirements of varsities in their difficult financial conditions.

The meeting resolved that the higher education must remain a federal subject while a well functioning control body was needed to develop, guide and steer higher education. He said the vice-chancellors had urged the HEC to continue its current role and its independence must be continuously protected.

The meeting also adopted a slogan 'Four to educationóroad to salvation' to impress upon the ruling leadership that salvation of the country was in allocation of four percent of the GDP to education sector.

The vice chancellor of UET Peshawar while apprising the newsmen of major decisions of the Vice-Chancellors' Committee meeting, observed that the media should also endeavor to raise awareness in the public for prevailing upon their elected representatives to earmark at least four percent of GDP for promotion and development of education for rapid socio-economic development of the country.

Engr Gilani said that the universities were autonomous institutions, adding the decision about five or six working days per week should be taken by statutory bodies of the respective varsities only.

To a question, PU VC Dr Mujahid Kamran said that besides prime minister's son, MPA Abdul Qadir Gilani, the degrees of around 12 more parliamentarians were yet to be verified by the university. He said the delay in verification of degrees was witnessed owing to the belated submission of required documents by the parliamentarians.

PU Controller of Examination Prof Dr Zahid Kareem, who was also present on the occasion, informed the media that the varsity had received a total of 377 degrees of MPs for verification, adding that around a dozen degrees were yet to be verified.

He also said the delay was witnessed as the varsity was facing problems in receiving required documents from the parliamentarians. He, however, claimed the task of verification would be completed soon as the PU had received required documents from the MPs. Answering yet another a question about the latest position of Prof Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch's alleged case of sexual harassment, Dr Kamran remarked that the matter was sub-judice and was currently being investigated by law enforcement agencies that's why he could not divulge any information as the PU fact-finding committee was also holding a probe into the charges leveled by the aggrieved party.

While replying to another question, Dr Kamran said that against the total recurring grant amounting to Rs 29 billion and development grant of Rs 15.65 billion needed by all the public sector universities during the ongoing fiscal year, the federal government had so far released Rs 11.6 billion and Rs 6.55 billion respectively.

It is pertinent to mention here that University of Education and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) did not attend the meeting as presently both the varsities are working without VCs since tenure of both the VCs had expired on Nov 20, 2010.

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VCs against devolving higher education to provinces
Lahore: The vice-chancellors of public sector universities across the country have unanimously resolved to demand the government keep higher education a federal subject instead of giving it to provinces under the 18th Amendment.

They also demanded allocation of minimum four percent of the GDP for education in the next budget, saying the government should keep the education budget sacrosanct.

The demands were presented in a press briefing after the VCs Committee Meeting which held at the Punjab University (PU) Old Campus here on Saturday.

University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, VC Engineer Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, flanked by PU VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and Rector of the National Textile University (NTU) Faisalabad Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad, briefed the media.

The vice-chancellors committee meeting attended by around 40 VCs was presided over by Engr Imtiaz Gilani who said that the VCs had resolved that the government must allocate a minimum of four percent of GDP for education sector in the next budget for achieving higher literacy rate and radically improving the standard of education. He said the VCs also believed that after being giving to the provinces the standard of higher education could fall while uniformity could also suffer. "We believe that by doing so the federation as a whole could also suffer," he said.

Engr Gilani further said it had also been decided that from now onward, the meetings of the VCs Committee would be held in varsities of different provinces across the country instead at the HEC. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier, the meeting used to be held at the HEC Islamabad alone.

The VCs committee also appreciated the federal government for releasing funds for immediate requirements of varsities in their difficult financial conditions.

The meeting resolved that the higher education must remain a federal subject while a well functioning control body was needed to develop, guide and steer higher education. He said the vice-chancellors had urged the HEC to continue its current role and its independence must be continuously protected.

The VC of UET Peshawar while apprising the newsmen of major decisions of the Vice-Chancellors' Committee meeting, observed that the media should also endeavor to raise awareness in the public for prevailing upon their elected representatives to earmark at least four percent of GDP for promotion and development of education for rapid socio-economic development of the country.

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VCs decide collaboration
Lahore: The vice chancellors (VCs) of agriculture and veterinary universities have decided to collaborate to work for setting up a centre excellence in one of the core identified areas, marketing livestock seed and water.

This proposal was discussed in a meeting, attended by Pir Mehar Ali Shah Agriculture University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandu Jam, VC Prof Dr Abdul Qadir Mughal, University of Agriculture Faisalabad VC Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad, Islamia University Bahawalpur VC Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) VC Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Agriculture University of Peshawar Acting VC Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem and Dr Riaz Hussain Qureshi from the Higher Education Commission,, at UVAS on Saturday. The news

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