Public medical colleges in Punjab

Plea against new medical colleges
Lahore, Jan 23: A writ petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court challenging the establishment of four public medical colleges in different cities of the Punjab.

The petitioner, Advocate Noshab A Khan, has said in his petition that the Punjab government has inaugurated four medical colleges without fulfilling the basic requirements. He said the government should have approved recognition of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for validation of medical qualifications.

He said the government opened these medical colleges in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan. He said there was allocation of 100 seats in each college and admissions for the academic session 2010-2011 had already been completed. The government remained oblivious to students' genuine concerns over lack of recognition by the PMDC of these colleges, he said.

The petitioner said that the government needed to seek the PMDC's recognition with retrospective effect in order to give validation to the qualifications awarded by the afore-mentioned medical colleges. He said there was no precedent regarding grant of recognition by the PMDC in retrospect to any medical or dental college in the country.

He submitted that in these colleges, the qualifications would be invalid without recognition by the supreme governing body regulating the medical and dental education. He said the Punjab government did not even bother to apply to the PMDC for recognition todate. This attitude of the respondent envisages malafides, he said. As a matter of fact for seeking recognition by the PMDC, the government should have fulfilled the eligibility criteria, including college building, qualified faculty, attached teaching hospital, fully equipped laboratory and library and hospital but the newly opened colleges lack all these basic requirements.

He said the Supreme Court, in its judgment, had categorically declared as fake all the medical and dental colleges lacking the PMDC's recognition. He prayed to the court to declare the opening of these colleges as illegal and having no legal authority. He also prayed to the court to stay the functioning of the colleges till final disposal of the petition. The nation

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Landless Swat University starts functioning
Peshawar: Though the newly established Swat University has formally started functioning, land for the project could not be acquired owing to the lethargic attitude of the provincial government.

The first semester in seven disciplines at the university is about to be completed, a senior official of the university said. "The university is currently being run in the Information Technology block of the Jahanzeb College and in a girls' school in Saidu Sharif," he said on condition of anonymity.

The Swatis believe that they have been given a university 36 years after the merger of the state of Swat in Pakistan and are thankful to both the federal and provincial governments for approving the project.

Many Swatis are, however, concerned about the proper materialisation of the project, as the provincial government was slow to follow a proper procedure for acquiring land and constructing a building for the university.

Acting Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Dr Farooq Swati, when contacted, was also concerned about the land issue. "Unless and until we have our own land and construction work is started, we cannot apply for regular grant from the Higher Education Commission," he pointed out.

Prof Dr Farooq Swati said the provincial government should take the issue seriously and immediately start the land acquisition process. He, however, felt the building block acquired from the Jahanzeb College was enough to run the university for the time being. "But we cannot undertake any expansion work in this building or add more disciplines and hire staff," he said.

The acting vice-chancellor also stressed the need for following merit in the true sense of the word while making the project a real success. He said merit should be followed at all costs. "If all the decisions and recruitments are made strictly on merit, the university will achieve its targets and become a great seat of learning," he argued.

The plan for establishment of the university was first announced as part of the peace deal with the militants in 2007. At that time, the government had announced to set up an International Islamic University in Mamdheri, the hometown of Tehrik-e-Taliban Swat chief Maulana Fazlullah near Mingora. The government, however, changed its plan and decided to set up a general university after the collapse of the peace accords and military action against the militants.

Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan, who had been appointed as project director-cum-vice-chancellor of the proposed Islamic University, was asked to continue in the same capacity when it was converted into a general university and its site was changed.

In October 2010, Dr Farooq Khan was assassinated at his private medical clinic in Mardan. The position of the vice-chancellor was later advertised and a number of applicants applied for the job. It is not clear as to when a regular vice-chancellor would be appointed.

Meanwhile, Dr Farooq Swati, a former dean of the faculty of social sciences and former chairman of the Archaeology Department at the University of Peshawar, was given acting charge of the university. He will be managing the university affairs till the appointment of a regular vice-chancellor. Dr Farooq Swati, it may be added, is also a candidate for the job. The news

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Police torture protesting UoE students, reporters
Lahore: A large number of students of the University of Education (UoE) on Wednesday staged a demonstration against the termination of varsity's science and technology division director Prof Dr Anwaarul Rehman Pasha and his wife, Dr Shaheen Pasha.

The protesters turned violent as the police resorted to launching a baton charge on them for blocking College Road in Township. The police did not spare the media personnel, who were covering the demonstration, and deliberately beat them up too, leaving education reporters Zaheer Abbas and Rizwan Nazir injured.

The adamant police, in a hot pursuit, caught some students from Akbar Chowk, about a kilometre away from the UoE campus, and thrashed them for damaging public and private property there. However, all arrested students were released on the directives of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who pacified the protesting students by promising reinstatement of the teachers.

The protesters chanted slogans against the police as well as the UoE administration and vowed that they would continue their protest until both teachers were restored.

The Punjab Assembly Press Gallery members observed a token boycott against the police's highhandedness against education reporters. The government, however, assured the journalists that the SP concerned would be summoned in the assembly chambers on Thursday (today) and would be asked to explain his conduct.Meanwhile, a two-member committee consisting of the law minister and the higher education secretary, or his nominee, has asked UoE acting vice-chancellor Prof Farhat Saleem and the two teachers sacked by the VC on Monday, to appear and explain their points of view.

When contacted, Prof Farhat Saleem said she was satisfied with her decision to sack the two faculty members. She said she would not revise her decision. She said Prof Pasha had been ousted from four institutions and the UoE was the fifth one from where he had been sacked. She said these two faculty members were sacked and could not be restored but reappointed.

"I will not reappoint them and won't mind even if I am told to relinquish the acting charge," she said.

Prof Saleem claimed that only those students, who were instigated by Prof Pasha and his wife, were protesting and not even a single faculty member protested in favour of the sacked couple.

She said all examinations except that of information technology papers held peacefully. Owing to students' protests, she said, the IT papers' date-sheet had been revised and the examination would now begin from Jan 24 (Monday).

Earlier in the morning, the IT students boycotted their examination and came out of the university to stage a demonstration as the media was not allowed to enter the campus to cover their protest.

On vice-chancellor's call, the police rushed to the scene and tried to disperse the students so that traffic on the thoroughfare could be restored.

Later, students boarded on university buses to go to Punjab Assembly chambers to record their protest. However, the students were chased and intercepted at Akbar Chowk and were beaten up there. The policemen also used abusive language against students.

Students protested against the police and damaged public and private property that led the police to arrest a number of protesters.

Later, the students reached The Mall and staged a protest demonstration and a sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly for about three hours. Eventually, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah invited a delegation of the demonstrators to the assembly chambers and assured them that the sacked teachers would be restored while arrested students would be released forthwith.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Education Reporters Association (LERA) condemned the police's highhandedness on education reporters. The LERA executive body demanded of the government to take strict action against the policemen involved in torturing students and the media personnel.

The Islami Jamiat Tulaba also condemned the police torture on journalists. Dawn

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GCU sizzles with live performances on Bonfire Night
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU) rocked with celebrity performances and eminent music bands when the GCU Welfare Society organised a Bonfire Night in a series of events to help the poor students of the university through the campaign, "Help the Helpless" on Tuesday night at the amphitheatre.

Eminent singers, including Shafqat Amanat Ali, Arif Lohar, Annie, Jassie, Amanat Ali Khan, and music bands, including Raga Boys and Call, rocked the Bonfire Night with their popular tracks.

Noted industrialist and GCU Endowment Fund Executive Committee President, Iqbal Z Ahmed, inaugurated the event by starting the fire, while the Punjab Education Minister and Old Ravian, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, US Consul General Carmella Conroy, US Consulate Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Larson and a large number of other dignitaries also attended the event.

The bonfire, kicked off with a medley sung by twin sisters Rida and Nida, who are students of BSC (Hons) at GCU. The Indian song "Inn Ankhon Ki Masti Ka", presented by GCU Welfare Society students, added fuel to the fire. The traditional dance by five Baloch students and Five Baloch students performed a traditional dance while another student, Basir Ahmad, performed a dance featuring moves by Michael Jackson.

A skit by a student of GCU, Ahmed Sahi, in which he mimicked noted politicians, was the most popular performance of the night. GCU students Hassan Maqsood and Imran Fida also sang at the event. The amphitheatre resounded with shouts, whistles and shrieks when Shafqat Amanat Ali, who is also an Old Ravian, came on stage. He performed an unscheduled live performance due to the popular demand of his old friends of GCU. Shafqat sung his famous songs "Khamaaj", "Terey naina" and "Mitwaa". A thirty-second silence was observed for the sad demise of Jamil Fakhri's son on Shafqat's request.

Arif Lohar also gave a sizzling performance in his traditional folk style, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the US diplomats.

GCU Welfare Society adviser, Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt, said that GCU does not only lead in research and academic activities, but also provides opportunities to its students to participate in extra-curricular activities. He said that the best thing about the Bonfire Night was that the students by attending it also supported a cause to help the deserving students who could not afford their academic expenses. All the proceedings that GCU Welfare Society generated through this campaign would be spent on deserving students. Daily times

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