Delay in issuing United Kingdom visas to Pakistanis
Delay in issuing UK visas to Pakistani passport holders
Islamabad, Oct 6: The UK secretary for home affairs, Alan Johnson, is expected in
Islamabad today to address the simmering anger over the inordinate,
scandalous delay in issuing visas to Pakistani passport holders.
According to a report in this newspaper yesterday, an estimated 200,000
passports are piled up in the UK high commission in Islamabad and 2,000
passports are being added every week - with little indication that the
backlog will be cleared any time soon. While Pakistanis face cumbersome
visa application processes at the best of times, the extra ordinary
difficulties in acquiring a UK visa are unacceptable and unnecessary.
Admittedly, there are genuine concerns that some Pakistani passport
holders may pose a security threat, but the hurdles created by the UK
authorities are unique. No other country - not the US, not other
western European countries, not the Gulf or Arab states - has such
onerous requirements, whereas arguably the potential security threats
they have to address are no less severe. It is true that the volume of
visa applications that the UK authorities must process from Pakistan is
high, but volume alone does not account for the problems.
biggest difficulty created by the UK authorities is the requirement
that its high commission in Islamabad retain the passport of a visa
applicant for the entire duration of the process. Given the months-long
delay in many instances, this effectively means that many applicants
are prisoners within their own country, unable to visit other countries
until the UK authorities return their passports. The other major
problem is the increasing rate of rejections now that visa applications
are being processed in Abu Dhabi. Unfamiliar with Pakistan and its
processes, visa officers in Abu Dhabi appear to be going 'by the book'
too much. Bank statements, residential addresses and other details are
apparently being parsed too closely by visa officers who are not
familiar with, say, the difference between a statement issued by a
foreign bank operating in the country and one issued by a local bank in
small town Pakistan. Moreover, since the law prohibits an embassy from
sending Pakistani passports out of the country, visa officers are
deciding about forgery and fraud on the basis of photocopied documents.
The list of complaints is long and complex, but the solutions
are not. In the short term, the UK needs to devote more resources to
clear the enormous backlog of visa applications; something which should
not be very difficult given the high visa application fees charged. In
the medium term, the process must be returned to Pakistani shores - if
every other country can operate from here, then so can the UK
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Development projects launched for the uplift of rural areas
Islamabad: The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration
has launched a number of development projects for the uplift of rural
areas of Islamabad and special attention is being paid to health and
education sectors in the rural area.
Basic Health Units and Rural
Health Centers are being upgraded and educational buildings in the
rural areas are being strengthened and up-graded, a high official of
ICT said here.
He informed that there was a shortfall of funds under the
Islamabad development package and Public Sector Development Programmes.
"If the funds are timely released, work on the ongoing development
schemes could be expedited for their completion within the stipulated
time," he maintained.
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More incentives for teachers demanded
Islamabad: On the eve of Teacher's Day, the teacher community has
reminded the government to fulfill the promises made by every
government or else they would start a countrywide protest movement to
realise their unheeded demands and for the revival of their lost
"Three years ago on the same day former prime minister
Shoukat Aziz had announced that the teachers of schools, colleges and
universities would be given one step up-gradation but despite the lapse
of three years the decision was not implemented in school and colleges
while at the level of universities it has been implemented", Professor
Qasim Masood, Information Secretary of All Pakistan Professors and
Lecturers Association, informed when the Teachers' Day is
being observed in the world.
He said in NWFP the teachers observed
the day while protesting against the attitude of the government towards
the pitiable situation of the teachers. He was of the view that the
teachers of the other provinces would express their solidarity with
them and would join their protest movement if their demands remain
unheard. The teachers regretted that even the Musharraf government used
to celebrate the event and holding a convention on the eve of Teachers'
Day was a regular activity but the present government even wasn't
bothered to hold such event.
Recognition of one's service is a
motivating factor but teachers have been suffering from inferiority
complex due to the gross negligence by the government, said a teacher.
were of the view that the present pay scales of the posts are
considered grossly incommensurate with the qualifications and
experience prescribed for appointments for these posts. There has been
no specific promotion policy for teachers of 435 schools of the Capital
while all the provincial governments have announced special packages
for the teacher community.
"Its very unfortunate that teachers of
the Capital have been working in the same grades for the last 23 years
with no incentives. Even the recently announced education policy has
nothing to offer to the teachers. And the schoolteacher against this
inhuman attitude of the government are going to move the Supreme
Court", lamented Ali Sher Rind, General Secretary of Federal Government
The college and university lecturers and
professors across the country have been witnessing the same problem
because of lack of any clear promotion policy. The nation
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Teachers witness National Assembly proceedings
Islamabad: The local teachers Monday witnessed the National Assembly
proceedings on the invitation of Speaker Dr Fahmida Mirza on the
occasion of International Teachers Day. The House paid tribute to the
teachers on their arrival. Education Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani
said that teachers were a vital part of the nation and the future of
nation was in their hands. "We have protected their interests in the
new educational policy and they would be given their due status in the
society," he remarked. Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ahmad urged the
government to take practical steps for the well-being of the teachers
rather than paying tributes to them. "Five percent of GDP should be set
aside for the promotion of education in the next budget and there
should be no discrimination in the promotions of teachers," Nisar
demanded. Legislator Azra Afzal called for enhancement in the salaries
of teachers. Riaz Hussain Pirzada said it was teacher who made man a
perfect human being adding the nations who disregarded teachers did not
progress. Daily times
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CJP takes suo moto notices
Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has
taken a suo moto notice on an application of a teacher, Abid Ali s/o
Nazir Ahmed r/o Bathian, Hafizabad.
In his application, he had
requested that he was performing his duties as a teacher in Raj
International School at Pindi Bathian on April 16, 2009, when hooligans
of an influential feudal Aurengzeb s/o Munawar Cheema, came and ordered
him to close the school. When he refused, they tortured and disgraced
The chief justice ordered to forward the case to the PPO,
Punjab, for its disposal and report within a fortnight.Similarly, the
chief justice has also taken suo moto notice on an application of Aliya
Zafar advocate. In her application, she stated that she applied for
post of a civil judge cum judicial magistrate announced by the Punjab
Public Service Commission in July 2008. She received a letter from the
commission wherein two objections were raised by it on her eligibility.
She moved the Lahore High Court, along with others four candidates, and
the court decided the case in her favour. Thus, she appeared in the
said examination, but her result was withheld. The CJ ordered to call
comments from the Punjab Public Service Commission chairman within
Likewise, the CJ also took suo moto notice on an
appeal of a woman, who said that she was kidnapped along with her two
kids and was sexually tortured for more than two months. A report was
called from the PPO, Punjab.
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Moot for higher education faculty
Islamabad: The opening ceremony of four-day workshop for the final review of
Professional Competency Enhancement Programme for University Teachers
(PCEPT) modules started here on Monday.
The workshop was
arranged by Pre-Service Teachers Education Programme (Pre-STEP), a
project of United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
in collaboration with HEC.The ceremony was chaired by Begum Nuzhat
Sadiq, MNA and member National Assembly Standing Committee on Education.
Sadiq assured that she would take up the issues faced by HEC for
implementing this project at the platform of National Assembly.Teaching
faculty is the main pillar of any education system and this workshop
will be a sound initiative toward implementing qualitative teaching
standards in the country, she said. Nuzhat Sadiq appreciated HEC and
USAID for carrying out the efforts for improving the standard of
teaching and developing the teaching modules.
National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE), HEC has developed the
Teaching Learning Resource Material for the professional development of
2100 faculty members across the country through its PCEPT Programme.
public and private sector universities including Islamia University,
Bahawalpur, Agha Khan University, Karachi, University of Education,
Lahore, AIOU, Islamabad, Iqra University, Quetta, APCOMS, Rawalpindi,
FJWU, Rawalpindi contributed in this joint venture.
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Teachers are nation builders
Rawalpindi: To acknowledge and appreciate the importance and hard work of teachers,
students of The City School Junior Branch, Harley Street celebrated
Teachers Day here Monday.
The students made cards for their
teachers and decorated them with colourful stuff. All the teachers were
thrilled to see the creativity put in by their students in the handmade
cards, and appreciated their efforts.
A special programme was
also arranged on the occasion in which students read out beautiful
poems for their teachers and made speeches on the importance of the
teaching profession in the light of Holy Quran and Hadiths.
The City School Junior Branch Samina Raja, on this special occasion,
conveyed her message to all teachers, saying that teachers are the
nation builders. "We, as teachers, hold a very important responsibility
in order to guide and groom children in the right direction for their
future. Moreover, teachers play the role of second parents, as they
guide the students towards the right path," she said. The ceremony
concluded with a message conveyed by each teacher to the students. The news
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