Taliban kidnap cadets | HEC recognise Dr Atta's services
Taliban kidnap over 500 students
Peshawar, June 02: Tribal militants kidnapped over 500 students of the Razmak
Cadet College from the Bakkakhel Frontier Region, Bannu, adjacent to the North
Waziristan tribal region, on Monday, according to government and police
"This is a serious development and will have far-reaching
repercussions," a senior security official said.
Details were sketchy
but the official said that 33 vehicles had started off from Razmak, with 540
cadets, teaching staff and their families after the principal of the college
ordered its closure amid apprehensions about an impending military operation
Officials acknowledged that in accordance with an
agreement with the government, local militants affiliated with Commander Hafiz
Gul Bahadur in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, had escorted the
vehicles, along with Khasadars, till the tribal region's boundary with F.R.
"The vehicles were waylaid by armed militants in the Bakkakhel
area and commandeered towards Marwat Canal," the official said.
said that some women and children were later freed. But, the militants carrying
rockets, grenades and automatic machine guns boarded the vehicles and
commandeered them to some unspecified place.
Another coach, carrying 17
people, including 10 students, a librarian and a doctor, managed to reach the
Miryan police station in Bannu. They were later escorted to the Cantonment
police station for their onward journey to their destinations, the police
The number of those kidnapped varied, but one official
put the figure at close to 518, including cadets and members of the teaching
District Police Officer of Bannu Iqbal Marwat, however, said that
67 cadets had managed to reach the police, while over 400 were missing.
"The Taliban are behind the kidnapping," Mir Sardar, Assistant
Sub-Inspector of the Miryan police station, told The New York Times by phone
Marwat Canal leads to South Waziristan's Spinkay, through
Frontier Region Tank, linked up by a nullah frequently used by militants to
bypass security checkposts.
Gul Bahadur, leader of the Ittehad-i-Shura
Mujahideen, North Waziristan, has wide influence in Bakkakhel and some officials
believe that the kidnapping could not have taken place without his blessing.
"He thinks that he can hoodwink us by escorting these students and
teachers to fulfil his commitment not to harm them in his area of influence and
then have them kidnapped from Bakkakhel. But we all know whose people operate in
Bakkakhel," the official said.
He said that three militant commanders --
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mehsud, Maulvi Nazir in South
Waziristan and Hafiz Gul Bahadur -- had forged an alliance to help each other in
the event of a military operation.
Citing recent reports, the official
said that Maulvi Nazir who didn't trust the TTP leader, had sent men to fight
for him against any possible military operation.
"They are all one," the
security official said. He said the kidnapping would have far-ranging
consequences since most of those kidnapped belonged to the federally
administered tribal regions.
Security officials said that militants from
all over the tribal region were converging on the Mehsud part of South
Waziristan amid reports that a military operation was imminent.
has been an increase in clashes between militants and security forces in the
Mehsud territory after the military made inroads for what it calls
'readjustments' to link up vital communication network.
warned of attacks if troops do not withdraw from his area, after a jirga failed
to mediate between him and the tribal administration.
that the militant leader would like to use the kidnapped students to secure the
release of his comrades under detention and force the government to not only
withdraw its forces from the region but also halt the military operation.
The political administration in F.R. Bannu and North Waziristan has
tasked a jirga of tribal elders to locate the kidnapped cadets and staff members
and secure their early release, the official said. Dawn
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HEC wakes up to recognise Dr Atta's services
Islamabad: For the first time Higher Education Commission (HEC) has cared to
recognise invaluable services of Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman former Chairman HEC, in
higher education sector.
In its last meeting, the HEC Board of Governors
unanimously acknowledged and appreciated the efforts, services and contributions
of Dr Atta for leading renaissance of higher education sector in keeping with
the recommendations of the Task Force on Higher Education and Steering Committee
on Higher Education Reforms of 2001.
There are 18 members in the commission
including 4 provincial government representatives, eminent citizens, vice
chancellors and eminent educationists.
It was the second meeting of the
commission after the resignation of Dr Atta.
Dr Muhammad Akram Sheikh,
former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission offered his sincere appreciation for
Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman and observed that his vision, leadership and hard work
has diametrically invigorated the higher education sector in Pakistan.
Mazahar-ul-Haq Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro seconded
Dr Akram's views.
The BoG members observed that this was accomplished through
successful implementation of inter-linked initiatives, strategies and innovative
programmes in academics, research assurance, IT and physical infrastructure,
faculty esteem and status, etc.
The commission desired that the appreciation
may be formally conveyed to the former Chairman HEC Prof Atta and he may also be
invited to a felicitation gathering to appropriately recognize his valuable
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, In-charge, HEC observed though she had been
acknowledging the role and headship of Dr Atta on different occasions, it is all
important that the commission formally recorded its acknowledgement and tributes
for the former chairman whose leadership was appreciated by those within the
country and abroad.
"It enabled the commission to accomplish unparalleled growth in access and
equity, quality of academics and research, improvement of infrastructure,
standardization and quality assurances processes, governance and management of
higher education sector in a very short span of time" she added.
Dr Atta had
another two years of his 4-year contract left when he resigned.
his resignation in protest against sharp cuts in the budget of the higher
education sector which had caused suffering to the 4,000 students who had been
sent abroad on foreign scholarships, and the derailing of a large number of
critically important projects in the higher education sector, including the
foreign engineering universities which were scheduled to start classes in
October 2008, but the programme was abandoned mid-way by the government, causing
huge international embarrassment.
It may be mentioned here that Dr Atta has
been conferred the highest Civil Award of the Government of Austria for bringing
about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan,
unparalleled in any other developing country, and that the Senate Standing
Committee on Higher Education, Science & Technology had passed a unanimous
resolution after his resignation acknowledging his monumental contributions to
this sector, and appealing to the government that he should be requested to
return as Chairman HEC. The Nation
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Summer holidays in schools of Baluchistan hot areas
Hub: Summer holidays in government schools in hot
areas would begin from June 2. According to a notification issued by Provincial
Education Department, government schools in hot areas of the province would
remain closed for summer vacations form June 2 to August 17, 2009 and would
reopen on August 18. Ppi
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