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PU protest against fees hike | KEMU to lose varsity status

PU students protest against 'increase' in fees
Lahore, April 03: Students of the Punjab University (PU) staged a protest against the increase in fees and expulsion of students by the PU on Thursday.

They blocked the roads which resulted in other students facing difficulties in going to the examination centres. They also staged a sit-in at the campus bridge. When contacted, an Islami Jamiat Tulaba spokesmen said if the demands were not met by the PU by April 8, they would call for a countrywide protest.

The PU vice-chancellor (VC) had earlier constituted a committee to review the situation. The committee held a meeting on Tuesday to review the situation. The committee members advised the PU to refrain from increasing the fees this year when they were informed that the PU had not increased the fees and did not intend to do so. The members were informed that 50 percent students were on either merit scholarships, need-based scholarships or some other form of financial assistance. Students of Hailey College of Commerce (HCC) and Hailey College of Banking and Finance (HCBF) are also offered scholarships by various industrialists.

Prospectus: In the meeting, it was clarified that the students of HCC were being charged the fee that had been mentioned in the prospectus. The students were even allowed to submit their fee in two instalments instead of a lump sum. The students incapable of paying even in two instalments would be provided the option of paying on a monthly basis, the meeting was told. The PU Disciplinary Action Committee also finished reviewing the expulsion cases. It reinstated all students who had provided written assurance of good conduct to the administration.

IJT hijacks two PU buses
Lahore: Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) activists hijacked two Punjab University (PU) buses from the PU Old Campus and the PU New Campus. They threatened the drivers and conductors and forced the drivers to take expelled students to the PU vice-chancellor (VC)'s office so they could stage a protest. Drivers, conductors and over 150 staff members of the Transport Wing went on strike after the incident, parking their buses in the workshop at the PU New Campus. The strike was called off after about three hours when Resident Officer-I Professor Shahid Gul and Controller Examinations Professor Zahid Karim Khan assured the transport staff of the administration's full cooperation against the activists. A driver and conductor said when the bus arrived at the PU Old Campus and the students started to vacate the bus, some IJT activists - Hafiz Tauseef, Munir Tahir, Abdul Hafeez Tahir - hijacked the bus, tortured them, snatched the conductor's cellular phone and forced them to drive the bus to the New Campus. The PU IJT spokesman denied IJT's involvement in hijacking any bus and said the charges wer e fabricated. Daily Times

Punjab University results
The Punjab University (PU) Examination Department has declared the results of various examinations. According to a press statement, the exams include BSc Medical Laboratory & Technology, Supplementary Exam 2006 and Annual Exam 2007, MSc Zoology (2-Years Programme), Semester System, Session 2006-2008, MSc Zoology (2-Years Replica Programme), Semester System, Session 2006-2008. The News

PhD degree awarded at PU
Lahore: Punjab University has awarded PhD degree to Farrakh Mehmood Alvi S/o Muhammad Abdullah Alvi in the subject of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics after completion of his thesis entitled 'Molecular Characterization of Hypertension Related Genetic Loci of Local Population'. He completed his thesis under the supervision of Punjab University Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics (MMG) Chairperson, and Chairperson DPCC Prof Dr Shahida Hasnain. F.P. Report

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KEMU to lose varsity status
Lahore: The King Edward Medical University (KEMU) will be reverted to its college status.

Health secretary Anwar Khan said on Thursday night the government would soon move a bill in the provincial assembly to withdraw the university status from the KEMU.

The secretary said the proposal was put before the government a couple of months ago but it was shelved during the governor's rule.

Sources said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif felt that the KEMU had failed to achieve the objectives of its elevation. Dawn

100 girls' schools razed in FATA: UN
Lahore: Taliban last year blew up more than 100 girls' schools in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, the United Nations (UN) has said. Koichiro Matsuura, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation director-general, said months of attacks on educational institutions, teachers and students had created a 'shocking situation'. The lawlessness had spread to the Swat valley in February. What was once the "Switzerland of Pakistan" had become its Beirut, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Hussain Haqqani said. The Taliban have attacked 169 girls' schools in the Swat district since July, and last week, a suicide attacker bombed another in Balochistan. While the peace accord in Swat 'theoretically' allowed girls to return to schools, Matsuura said "fear still reigns" among parents and many teachers had fled the region.

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PTU to observe hunger strike, take out rally
Lahore: The Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) will observe a hunger strike and take out a rally against the government's discriminatory behaviour against them.

The PTU held nine corner meetings in the city's nine towns under the supervision of PTU Lahore President Rasheed Ahmed Bhatti on Thursday. The teachers decided the hunger strike would be observed at the Masjid-e-Shuhada on April 6 (Monday) while teachers from 36 other districts would take out a rally on April 9 (Thursday) from the Lahore High Court (LHC) to the Punjab Assembly (PA).

The PTU Lahore president said teachers from across the province would attend the rally and the hunger strike, adding that the teachers would continue the strike until their charter of demands was met.

100,000: "More than 100,000 teachers from 36 districts will attend the rally," Bhatti said. He said teachers were the backbone of the society, as they were responsible for training and educating the future generations. He said teachers were very firm in their demands, adding that the strike would prove their determination. He said the teachers were asking for an increase in their salaries to the equivalent of 11 grams of gold, teaching allowance, regularising contractual teachers, removing army officials from monitoring duty, equal benefits for teachers working in rural and urban areas, upgrade basic pay scales, claim of group insurance and enhancing welfare fund.

Bhatti said several demands must be addressed immediately, as they had created sense of insecurity among the teachers. He said the retired army officers often visited schools, adding that it frightened both the children and the teachers. He said the Education Department had already appointed assistant education officers (AEO) to monitor the schools. He said there was no need for retired army officials as long as the AEO concerned was performing his duties. "The Education Department provides the officials with a large salary and petrol allowance. They also get motorcycles but the department has not provided them any equipment to aid them in monitoring the schools," Bhatti said.

Difficult: He said any teacher getting appointed under the Primary School Teacher (PST) cadre had no option but to retire in the same cadre. "Either the teacher must improve his qualifications by attaining a Masters in Education," he said. He said the teachers appointed in urban areas were provided more facilities in comparison to teachers appointed in rural areas. "The teachers in urban areas are given 45 percent of house rent and conveyance allowance. The teachers appointed in rural areas are only provided 30 percent of the house rent is given and no conveyance allowance if provided to them," Bhatti said. He said it was also extremely difficult for the heirs of a teacher to attain welfare fund from the authorities concerned if the teacher had passed away. Daily Times

LCWU seeks governor's help for tax waiver
Lahore: Following disappointing response from the district government and federal government, the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) has asked the governor/chancellor to intervene for waiver of different taxes for registration of newly purchased land of the university.

According to sources in the university, the LCWU administration had requested Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to waive the Capital Value Tax but it was rejected.

They further said the university administration also contacted the district administration for waiver of Corporation Fee but to no avail, adding both the taxes/levies added up to Rs 5 million approximately.

Some Lahore College for Women University officials, on condition of anonymity, said the land was purchased last year but its registration in the name of LCWU had not been executed so far because of non-payment of the taxes.

They said that in wake of poor funding to public sector universities by the government, the Lahore College for Women University was finding it difficult to pay the taxes.

They said the Punjab government; however had a "soft corner" as it waived Stamp Duty and Registry Fee.

The university administration was expecting that the federal government and district government would waive their taxes too, they said, adding but their "response" was really disappointing.

They further said Lahore College for Women University was a government entity, adding realising the meagre funding to universities unlike previous years, the federal government and district government should waive their taxes.

The officials further said the piece of land measuring 4 kanal, 10 marlas and 137 sq ft was purchased at 5-Shadman Colony, Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat by the Lahore College for Women University last year at a cost of around Rs 150 million.

"The amount was paid from the university's own resources without any financial support from the government", they said adding, "The land was purchased to address shortage of space in the wake of growing number of students".

According to the sources in the Punjab Higher Education Department following the request of Lahore College for Women University to the Chancellor, the department took the matter with the Finance Department recently.

They added in its response, the Finance Department maintained that after rejection of the case by the federal government it might not be useful to approach the federal government again through the Finance Department.

"However, it may be useful if the governor in his capacity as chancellor may refer the matter to federal government for reconsideration of its earlier advice", Finance Department maintained, the sources added.

When contacted, Lahore College for Women University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Bushra Mateen said the land was purchased from the university's own savings. She said, however, now it was really difficult for the university to pay the said taxes.

To a question, she replied the FBR rejected LCWU's request on the plea it did not have policy of waiving Capital Value Tax. She further said now the university had contacted the chancellor to help it out. The News

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