New UK rules discriminatory for immigrants
London, June 10: Immigration campaigners have expressed fears that the new English language tests would disproportionately target spouses and partners, hailing from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, but a key cabinet minister says the immigrants have everything to gain from the new rules.
The Conservative co-chair and Lib-Lab coalition government cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi hailed the new English test rules compulsory for immigrants from outside the European Union who marry British citizens and move to the UK.
Warsi welcomed the new, fast-tracked package and said it would go a long way in strengthening the communities and dismissed fears expressed by some groups that these rules may disproportionately target some ethnic communities and may prove to be too harsh.
The applicants will have to show their grasp of English, at least at the level of five to seven-year-old.
"It's all a gain-gain situation as the very basic level English language test will go on to benefit and empower those who want to come and live in the UK. It's all for their benefit and will help them in multiple ways to obtain jobs, communicate better, be better parents and useful members of the society," Warsi said.
According to the government statistics, last year, some 38,000 visas for spouses were granted and a further 21,000 people were granted indefinite leave to remain. The new measures are going to have a particular impact on South Asians communities -- Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi -- who make up a large proportion of these figures. British Asians continue to retain strong blood and cultural relations with their countries of origin.
The campaigners have expressed their opposition to the new measures. Hina Majid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said she supported helping immigrants to learn English, but the plans were discriminatory. "It's unnecessary, it's costly and it will tear migrant families apart."
Don Flynn, from the Migrants' Rights Network, said the benefits of learning English were obvious but couples should not be penalised for wanting to be together. Isabella Sankey, of Liberty, labelled the news 'disgraceful' and said some people may be unfairly penalised.
In a statement the Liberty said: "While a good command of English is clearly beneficial for someone settling in the UK with their partner or spouse, making this a prerequisite to entering the country is disgraceful."
The rules will apply to spouses, fiancees and unmarried couples who already live in Britain as well as new applicants. UK Home Secretary Theresa May said being able to speak English was a pre-requisite for anyone wanting to settle in Britain.
"The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services," she said in a statement.
May said the measures were a first step in tightening up English language requirements across the visa system.
Warsi said the level of English test was seat at a basic and easy level and fears that it will keep the family members apart were unfounded because the news rules are aimed helping those men and women, who plan to make Britain their home and its only right that learned the language and make their life easier.
There will be no strain on relationships that sets in because of the lack of communication. It will enable the new arrivals at a practical level to go to doctor on their own, communicate to teachers and community workers and be able to understand what their children are talking about.
Student's rustication on marriage
Peshawar: A two-judge bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Wednesday put the principal and board of governors of the Peshawar Model School on notice in a case challenging the rustication of a student by the school administration for getting married.
When the bench, comprising Justice Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah and Justice Yahya Afridi, took up the case for hearing, the petitioner's lawyer Muhammad Isa Khan contended that the school administration had expelled the student only because he got married. He said it was unlawful and had put the educational future of the student at stake.
The bench remarked that rusticating a student just because he got married was against the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution, adding that the government should form a regulatory authority for the private institutions to stop them from committing such acts.
The petitioner, Ghairat Khan, stated that he had been a student of the Peshawar Model School for many years and was promoted to 7th grade in the current academic year. He said his father had died and presently he was living with his aged mother who was ill and was unable to do the house chores.
The petitioner claimed that he entered into wedlock as per the permission and desire of his mother and other relatives. The student said that after his marriage, the Peshawar Model School (Boys-III), Ring Road branch principal expelled him from the school by handing him a certificate.
The petitioner's lawyer raised various questions in the petition, stating that there was no law whatsoever in vogue in the country that may empower the respondents to expel the student for the sole reason of his marriage and thus the impugned action was unlawful.
Secondly, he added, the student was a Muslim and under the Islamic law, he could contract marriage on his own if he had reached the age of puberty. It was stated in the petition that according to Shariah, a minor could also enter into marriage with the consent and intervention of a guardian.
A reference of Section-270 of Muhammadan Law (marriage of a minor) was also given in the petition, which reads: "A boy or a girl who has not attained puberty (in this part called minor), is not competent to enter into a contract of marriage, but he or she may be contracted in marriage by his or her guardian."
Further, it was stated in the petition that there were a number of students of the same school who were married and carrying on with their schooling without any hindrance, but it was astonishing that the school administration had taken action only against his client. He said the action taken against the student by the school administration was discriminative in nature and against Article 4 of the Constitution. The student requested the court to set aside the school administration's order of his expulsion on the basis of being married and issue directives to the respondents to let him continue education in the school.
PkSF protests against VC
Peshawar: Pakhtun Students Federation (PkSF) of Agricultural University Wednesday staged protest against the vice chancellor for his alleged highhandedness against students. The protesters led by Lal Zaman, PkSF president for the Agricultural University chapter, staged a rally outside the Peshawar Press Club. They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans "Remove Khan Bahadur, Save the Agricultural University." Lal Zaman alleged that Dr Khan Bahadur was promoting Talibanisation in the university as he had links with Taliban. He criticised the vice chancellor for registering an FIR against the students and imposing heavy fine on them. The news