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KU: a learning place or battlefield?

KU: a place for learning or a battlefield?
Karachi, Dec 28: Some of us took refuge in classrooms, others ran towards bathrooms for safety, and some simply hid themselves behind trees and in corridors as students belonging to rival groups clashed recently on the campus of the University of Karachi. This was not an aberration; of late, such incidents have become quite common at the university.

Pursuing studies at Karachi University (KU) is increasingly becoming problematic and stressful.

Students have complained that they have been unable to complete their assignments on time due to clashes between rival student groups on the campus. Also, frequent postponements of semester exams have affected their preparations and might impact on their grades as well.

Though new exam dates have been announced, the postponement of scheduled papers have already forced foreign students to cancel their flights on several occasions. Their families too have been left worrying about their safety as rival groups indulge in violence to expand their territorial areas on the campus.

Fahadullah Dar, a student belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, blasted the KU administration for failing to cope with the situation.

"The administration of the varsity has shown a lethargic attitude [toward the plight of the students]," he said.

"The terminals (examinations0 were postponed several times and it was really annoying. My visa is due to expire and I have to get an extension from Islamabad as I am holding an Indian passport."

Dar said, "They have made a mockery of the issue which could have been solved pretty earlier. The Rangers are on the campus, and if the administration had given full authority to them, the law and order situation would have come under control.

"I had to cancel my flights thrice, which has not only annoyed me but my family as well."

A foreign student on condition of anonymity said: "Education should be kept separate from politics.

The recent delay has left my parents worried as they have been waiting for me to come back safely. It's really distressing as my focus has shifted. Now I want the papers to be over as soon as possible so that I can go back to my country.

"I came here to study in a peaceful environment but the last four years have been of constant worry."

Local students have also complained that the delays in the exams were unpleasant as they wanted to be done with them on time.

Several students have condemned the influence of political parties on the campus, and demanded an independent inquiry into their links to violence.

"If you look at the past, political parties have been the reason whenever the law and order situation gets out of hands," a group of students said.

"There should be an independent inquiry into the recent matter and strict action should be taken against the troublemakers," they demanded.

"There is no foolproof security for the neutrals [students who stay out of politics on the campus] and we feel unsecure. Whenever there is a clash in the university we are left with no option but to run for our protection.

"One or two guards cannot provide security to the whole department. Truly speaking, our university is pretty vulnerable as it is expanded on a very big piece of land and the security personnel seem to be very few. Political workers can do anything and escape easily."

Ahsan Raza Firdousi, a final-year student of Mass communications, has blamed the political parties for creating a mess in the university.

"Political parties are the root cause for most of the disturbance on the campus.

Our administration will never take strict measures against them because they have been taking illegal benefits from them.

"There is no say for neutrals and all the decisions are just forced upon us. There should be the involvement for neutral students as well so that they can actively share their ideas with the management."

"Those who have affiliations with the political wings are entertained but what about the thousands of students? Their demands should also be heard," Firdousi says, adding that an alliance of neutral students does exist but that too has let students with political affiliations in.

He says that final-year students have been most affected by this situation as their documentation process for various scholarships remains incomplete.

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KU aptitude tests
The University of Karachi (KU) on Sunday conducted the aptitude test for admissions in BS (Software Engineering, Computer Science and MBA). As per the directives of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, strict security measures were taken at the university on the occasion. The news

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KU announces aptitude test date
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Evening Programme Director Prof Dr Abuzar Wajdi has announced that the aptitude test for BS Computer Science, Software Engineering and MBA would be held at 02:30pm today (Sunday) at Arts Auditorium in KU. Candidates should reach the examination centre half an hour before the starting of the test. ppi

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KU exempted from loadshedding
Karachi: The Karachi Electric Supply Company has announced that it will donate a bus to Karachi University for the benefit of its students.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between the KESC chief executive, Tabish Gohar, and KU Vice Chancellor Dr Pirzada Qasim the other day.

The KESC will provide a bus to the varsity and in return it will be allowed to brand its name on the bus for a period of three years.

This initiative had been taken by the Karachi University Business School's (KUBS) Alumni Association, which, under its Student Transport Programme, is working to motivate and convince private organisations to support the cause.

The KESC chief executive said on the occasion that the KESC had placed an order for the bus and it would hopefully be delivered to Karachi University within two to three months.

He also announced that the varsity would be exempted from loadshedding.

The VC showed his satisfaction that the former students of the university were feeling themselves responsible for their institution's progress and proving themselves to be a helping hand in bringing good name to their alma mater.

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BIEK papers rescheduled
Karachi: The Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) has announced that all the papers of the ongoing Higher Secondary Certificate (supplementary) examinations scheduled for Dec 27 will now be held on Jan 20. Dawn

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SMC graduates serving in various parts of world
SMC graduates serving in various parts of world: The doctors who graduated from Sindh Medical College (SMC), Karachi, are serving in various parts of the world and also enhancing the image of the country internationally. This was stated by Vice-Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Prof. Masood Hameed Khan. He was speaking at 6th annual winter meeting of SMC Alumni- "the SMCians".

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Thousands throng wonderland of books
Karachi: Thousands of booklovers thronged the Expo Centre for a book hunt as the 6th Karachi International Book Fair was opened on Friday.

Sindh Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haque, who opened the fair, lamented the decline in the reading habits of people and the gradual tapering down of the use of the libraries in the country.

The minister was of the view that there was a general apathy towards seeking knowledge.

The KIBF, which will conclude on December 28, has been organised by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) in collaboration with the National Book Foundation (NBF).

The Speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Nisar Khuhro agreed there was a decline in the number of people reading books. However, he pointed out that sometimes books are either not available or sold at inflated prices. "It is the duty of everyone including parents, teachers and others to encourage the younger generation to take up reading. Libraries are vanishing and those that exist have very old books which are crumbling. This is pathetic. We should invest more in books and libraries".

Chairman PPBA (Sindh and Balochistan Zone) Aziz Khalid projecting the 'softer image' of Pakistan to the world and to promote reading throughout the country were some of the reasons for holding this book fair. "We intend to reach agreements with the international book fairs to such events in various countries. A large number of the visitors who came to the fair to take a look at and buy the wide variety of books on display also believed that nowadays, people in the country are reading a lot less. However, it was encouraging to see young students, professionals and even the elderly leaving the book fair with bags full of purchases.

Over 122 local as well as international publishers and booksellers set up more than 260 stalls to exhibit their books. Booksellers from China, India, Iran, Singapore and United Kingdom put up their stalls at the book fair.

A group of students were carrying shopping bags full of books. They informed that they bought the books because they were able to get them at a tremendous bargain. "We bought these books for our A-Level examinations. The booksellers offered us a 40 percent discount. The books are printed on good quality paper and we were saved from the hassle of having to rummage through dusty books in the crammed Urdu Bazaar," says Irfan Haque.

A senior journalist Qazi Akhtar Junagarhi and his wife were also spotted at the book fair. "I have purchased some literary and some religious books, while my wife chose to pick up some Urdu Literature classics," says Junagarhi, who is a poet and a writer. He also writes regularly for the Daily Jang. The news

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