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KU VC - Restore peace or quit

Restore peace or quit, governor tells KU VC
Karachi, Dec 22: Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, being perturbed at the law and order situation and mismanagement at the University of Karachi (KU), has asked its vice-chancellor to bring normalcy to the campus or be ready for his departure from the university.

The stern warning from the governor to VC Prof Pirzada Qasim was given after a marathon meeting at the Governor's House on Tuesday. The meeting that began at 3:00 pm continued till 7:00 pm.

The governor candidly told the VC that the KU, like other universities, had to be cleansed from political influence or else he would be fired.

Dr Khan, accompanied by his Principal Secretary Mumtaz Ur Rahman and Special Secretary Major (retd) Aftab Lodhi, told the vice-chancellor in plain words that the situation on the campus had reached the saturation point and any new disturbance there would lead to his last day in office.

The KU authorities have miserably failed to maintain peace on the campus, where clashes between rival groups of students have affected the academic atmosphere for quite sometime. Thousands of students are bearing the brunt of these clashes, which have caused frequent postponements of semester examinations.

There seems to be complete security collapse at the university as the administration is wilting under the political pressure. The KU even postponed its Syndicate meeting scheduled for Wednesday because there was no surety that it would not be disrupted by students.

The dismal situation that has been wasting the precious time of students emerged after the student wing of a political party posed threat to the selection board for Mass Communications teachers because a candidate who allegedly enjoyed their support had failed to qualify.

A similar thing happened at a meeting of the selection board for the recruitment of teachers in the Political Science Department when students from the same group caused disruption after their candidate could not clear the interview.

Former Campus Security Adviser Dr Khalid Iraqi, who was known for taking quick action to avoid any disturbance at the campus, had to resign as he was not allowed by the KU administration to take firm action against the hooliganism by a section of students. The selection of Captain (retd) Zahid Maqsood as KU security chief, who had applied as a retired major, became controversial and he had to go since he could not gain recognition from anyone at the university.

In the meantime, a students' alliance, comprising students from the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO), the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT), the People's Students Federation (PSF) and the Punjabi Students Association (PSA), protested against the policies of the VC and the Pro-VC for failing to control the situation.

The KU administration then appointed Siddique Naveed as Campus Security Adviser. The alliance reacted angrily to his appointment as Naveed was a member of a party. The KU administration removed him from the post. A notification in this regard is still awaited.

Vice Chancellor Prof Pirzada Qasim and Pro-VC Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi chose to stay away from the university on Monday. Another Pro-VC, Dr Nasiruddin Khan, is reported to be in Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah.

President Karachi University Teachers Society Dr Abid Hasnain said that their concern about the pathetic security system at the KU had proved true because they (KUTS) had agreed to conduct the ongoing examinations but the university administration backtracked from its promise to remain firm against any political pressures.

Another KUTS official, who wished anonymity, remarked: "We (KUTS) had agreed to conduct the examinations despite knowing that the VC and his army of incompetents were offering us a cosmetic surgery but the administration failed yet again. It is very embarrassing for us at the university and it seems as if there exists no administration at all at the campus." The news

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Students stage protest against KU move
Karachi: The highly volatile situation at Karachi University took a new turn on Tuesday morning when a group of angry students locked the administration block and staged a sit-in for nearly five hours to protest against an "administrative decision" taken a day earlier reportedly by a pro-vice-chancellor under pressure by their rival group.

A university spokesperson had earlier announced that the campus would remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday after activists belonging to one of the student groups stormed the campus security office and went on the rampage.

Despite the university's closure, the activists of rival students group reached the campus on Tuesday morning and staged a protest against the "transfer" of the senior campus security officer and the appointment of an official in his place who they alleged had sympathies with the other group.

While the protest continued for five hours, the students' adviser met representatives of all students groups, the sources said, adding that the students agreed to end their protest when they got the assurance that the university administration would take into account their concerns.

There was no official word on the meeting.

The sources said that there was consensus among all student groups in the meeting that the university should be opened and exams conducted, while the disputed matters be settled by the vice-chancellor.

The sources added that pro-vice-chancellor Prof (Dr) Shahana Urooj Kazmi had issued the transfer letters of senior campus security officer Mohammad Asif and deputy registrar general Mohammad Abid late on Monday night when members of the students' organisation refused to end the blockade of the administration block till their demands were accepted.

No KU official was available to confirm if the two officers had been transferred.

The students' organisation had accused the campus security officer of allowing a rusticated student into the university and demanded that the pro-vice-chancellor get registered an FIR against him as he had beaten up a university employee.

It is worth noting that violence has marred academic activities at the campus for many weeks causing postponement of exams and the next academic session.

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Confusion over KU closure

Confusion prevailed over the university's closure on Tuesday as different statements were issued to the media outlets by the university's public relations department.

In a text message sent to journalists on their cellphones at 12.19am, it was said that the KU registrar had announced that the university would be closed on Dec 21 and 22 for all purposes. However, another text was sent to journalists at 2.27am stating that papers would be held at the university (Tuesday and Wednesday) but administrative offices would stay open (on both days).

A few hours later, some channels aired the news that the governor had taken notice of the KU situation and the notification for the varsity's closure had been withdrawn.

However, the university did not issue a statement on any fresh development regarding the university's closure and it is being presumed that the campus will remain closed on Wednesday.

Senior KU teachers regretted what they called a major embarrassment caused by the administration for failing to come up with a single version on the closure of the university. It was unfortunate that university officials avoided the media, they said, adding that better communication was necessary to avoid speculation on the campus situation.

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Chancellor's meeting
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, who is the chancellor of public-sector universities in the province, met KU vice-chancellor Prof (Dr) Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui at the Governor's House and directed him to ensure continuation of exams at the university campus.

The governor also asked the vice-chancellor to take strict measures against those who had disturbed academic activities on the campus. Earlier, the vice-chancellor apprised the governor of the prevailing situation at the campus.

Principal secretary to the governor Mumtaz-ur-Rehman and special secretary Aftab Lodhi also attended the meeting. Dawn

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KU professor selected for Comstech Award
Karachi: The Committee on Science and Technological Cooperation (Comstech) has selected Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU), for the Comstech Award-2010 in recognition of his services in the field of chemistry.

This was stated by the ICCBS spokesman on Tuesday. He said that the award would be conferred in the Comstech General Assembly meeting to be held on January 11-13, 2011. President Asif Ali Zardari will present the award to Choudhary.

The award recognises the best chemist through a merit-based competition between the scientists of 57 organisations of Islamic countries.

Vice Chancellor KU Professor Dr Pirzada Qasim, and Coordinator General Comstech Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rahman congratulated Prof Choudhary on his remarkable achievement.

Prof Choudhary has written 24 books and more than 600 research papers that have been published internationally.

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Call for change in pattern of exam papers
Karachi: Position holders from nine different faculties of the intermediate level, the heads of those institutes whose students have earned positions in the annual examinations, the examiners themselves and the chairman of the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi all attended the first meeting of the Students' Educationalists Syndicate (SES) on Tuesday.

Members of the syndicate received a number of suggestions from position holders, which would be considered by examiners and the heads of colleges in the next meeting.

The SES had been established a couple of months ago to improve the examination system and the quality of education in Karachi.

The Chief Guest at the event was the Sindh Minister for Information Technology, Raza Haroon.

The minister appreciated the board's effort and said that initiatives taken by it would discourage the 'cheating mafia' and students from adopting unfair means. Raza Haroon also believed that the newly introduced examination pattern would encourage students to study harder.

He believed including the top position holders into the policy-making process was a remarkable step and that the establishment of a system such as the SES is unique.

"I would like to give my support to this syndicate and provide it with all the required platforms," Raza said. The minister said that suggestions made by students would go a long way in solving the problems they faced.

He also said that if the concerned stakeholders decide to implement the suggestions made by this syndicate, the changes would take place in future.

Haroon suggested that the syndicate should be expanded to a national level as he believed that students are capable of pointing out flaws and weaknesses in the examination system.

Members of the syndicate suggested that minor changes should be made to examination papers. The position holders suggested that more multiple choice questions should be added to the examination papers.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the BIEK, Anwar Ahmed Zai believed that the syndicate would prove to be a better platform for students to highlight problems in the examination system. He encouraged members of the SES to give suggestions for those areas that required serious attention.

"Members of the SES would submit their suggestions a week before meetings, so that everyone has the time to gather the relevant knowledge on issues tabled by other participants," said Ahmed Zai.

Later on, top position holders of arts, commerce, pre-medical, pre-engineering, home economics and computer science group, who had received shields, named after Shah Abdul Latif Bhattai, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Mullana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Pir Illhai Bux, Pir Sabghat Ullah Shaheed, Mullana Hasraat Muhani, Mullana Zafar Ali Khan, Dr Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Sadquain, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, and Qaisar Hussain Khan Bakhtari, delivered speeches on the personalities. The news

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CPSP to hold 44th convocation for southern region
Karachi: College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSP) will hold its 44th Convocation for the southern region of the country, on Wednesday (today). According to CPSP announcement on Tuesday, about 268 Fellowships (FCPS) and 161 Memberships (MCPS) in various specialties will be awarded to the successful candidates on the occasion. app

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