PU Book Fair ended | 4-year honours at GCU, FCCU

PU Book Fair ended, IJT activists allowed to enter
Lahore, May 31, 2008: The Punjab University (PU) Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) workers on Friday succeeded in showing their strong representation at the PU Book Fair after having a dialogue with the administration on the last day of the event.

The three-day event began on Wednesday with restrictions on the IJT workers to enter the event. Books on various topics were being sold on up to 50 percent discounts.

The PU Book Fair was previously conducted by the IJT annually, but the PU administration decided to hold the event on its own this year. The PU administration had also announced that the IJT had nothing to do with the event and its workers should keep themselves from this year's event.

This announcement fuelled the ongoing differences between the IJT and the PU administration over the holding of the event.

On May 12, the administration sealed the university for four days to stop IJT from holding the book fair.

Demands: PU IJT Media Secretary Imran Kiyani said, "The PU administration, in the meeting, has accepted our demands and recognised us equal partners in the event."

PRO: The PU Public Relation Officer (PRO) Shabbir Sarwer said the PU student advisor had allowed to the IJT workers to join the PU administration at the event.

The PRO said, "The IJT workers are allowed to welcome their guests, but they cannot conduct any political activity." They would not enter the book fair in groups, he added.

Incidents: For the first two days at the book fair, the IJT members were not allowed to show their presence at the event.

Heavy contingents of police were deployed on the campus to make the event a success without the IJT's involvement.

However, the IJT workers managed to enter the campus with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Naseer Bhutta on Thursday and attempted to control the stage, which led to a scuffle between them and PU officials. Bhutta said some PU faculty members had misbehaved with him. The university officials, later, denied the MNA's claim. Some IJT activists were also seen misbehaving with PU teachers on this occasion. The University Students' Federation on Friday protested against the IJT workers for misbehaving with the teachers.

Another incident happened on the third day of the event when a PU security guard misbehaved with PU Centre for High Energy Physics Director Prof Dr Harris Rasheed and stopped him from entering the book fair. Dr Harris denounced the administration for the incident.

Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed visited the event on Friday, after the successful dialogue between the IJT activists and the PU administration.

Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Bushra Rehman, Ajmal Niazi, Soaib Bin Aziz, and Shahbaz Anwar Khan were among the other visitors.

A large number of students, teachers, journalists, educationists, writers and people from other walks of life also visited the event and bought books of their likings. Daily Times

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4-year honour programmes fails to dazzle GCU, FCCU students
Lahore: The Government College (GCU) students have shown apathy towards four-year honours programme while the Forman Christian College University (FCCU) students laud their institution for awarding them a two-year conventional degree, learnt from students.

In November 2004, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) asked various universities to start the four-year honours programme. In Lahore, the GCU and FCCU had launched the programme in 2005.

Official figures showed that 648 students were enrolled in the GCU and 1,125 got admission in FCCU in 2005. It was learnt that half of students have left the programme. Now GCU has 300 students and only 500 students are doing their honours at FCCU.

GCU: Strength of four-year honours students is, Economics Department (70), History Department (21), Political Science Department (50), English Department (20), Philosophy Department (10), Urdu Department (15) and rest of the science departments collectively make it 500.

Students, who were dropped out or were struck off from the GCU, said, "Semester system is followed across the world for honours programmes, but 2005 and 2006 batches followed an annual system. Only 2007 batch has the semester system."

They said GCU lacked the capacity to continue the honours programme policy. Qadir Dad, Zohaib Ali Khan and Junaid Zafar were some of the students of batch 2005 who were dropped out in their third year due to their poor result in the first year.

GCU Registrar Faisal Khursheed said GCU was doing its best in accordance with the recommended policies of the HEC.

GCU Public Relations Officer Iqbal Anjum, however, refused to give the present strength of students.

FCCU: Students praised the FCCU for its student-friendly rules. They said they could not spend four years on campus, so the FCCU administration had awarded them a two-year conventional degree. The FCCU vice principal and chief advancement officer were not available for comment. The FCCU spokesman, however, refused to give official figure of registered students.

HEC: HEC Executive Director Professor Dr S Sohail Naqvi said, "HEC does not intervene in internal affairs of universities. The aim of four-year honours programme is to lessen the gap between teachers and students. Four-year honours programme was started in two ways – semester system and annual system. Initially, HEC started the semester system in universities where it gained popularity among students. 25 colleges of the Punjab will soon have the semester system for their four-year honour programmes." Daily Times

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NTU stakeholders' fate to be decided
Faisalabad: The National Textile University's (NTU) board of governors will likely to decide the fate of the vice-chancellor, students and the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) in its second meeting on Saturday (today).

It is learnt that board meeting will be held in Lahore and the issues likely to come into consideration are: acceptance of students' demands, closure of the university for an indefinite period or expulsion of the VC.

Sources said that a report of the fact-finding commission would be the key to decide the fate of the parties concerned and issues pertaining to the NTU. The report is based on the observation of the commission during its one-day visit to the academia.

The commission had visited the university a couple of days ago and held talks with faculty members, administration and students as well. They said all stakeholders had presented their point of view in the discussion regarding the prevailing situation in the academia which had been hampering the educational activities for the last two months.

The university, which has been closed thrice, will resume its educational activities from June 6.

The university's third time closure was the outcome of a protest drive launched by students against the administration.

Students are demanding accreditation of the university with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), disbandment of the APTMA, an organizing body of the NTU, and resignation of the VC.

The BoG, sources said, would also thrash out the points raised by the faculty members in a latter sent to the board on May 15 which held the administration responsible for all the fuss created in the university.

Scores of students said they would not accept any decision supporting the authoritarian rule.

They said that their demands were genuine and the people who failed to get the PEC accreditation must be shown the door.

The BoG comprises NTU pro-chancellor Anjum M. Saleem, rector Tariq Mehmood and NTU vice-chancellor Vice Admiral Masood M. Biabani (retired). While its members are the APTMA chairman, Mian Mohammad Latif, Ismail Khurram, Khalilul Rehman, Nasir Shafi, Mian Muhammad Saleem, Shahzad Abdullah, Shahzad Ahmed Sheikh, Humayun Naseer Sheikh, LUMS VC, UET's Lahore VC, Textile Industry Ministry secretary, textile commissioner, representatives of Punjab, the NWFP governments and a Higher Education Commission (HEC) representative. Dawn

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Reading ceremony at PU
Lahore: The Punjab University Department of English Language and Literature organised a special ceremony on "Readings: Contemporary South Asian Voices" in connection with 125th year celebrations of the university and the book fair on Friday.

According to a press statement, books from which extracts and poems were read included Hima Raza's "Us in the Two Tones", Alamgir Hashmi's "This Time in Lahore", Mehboob Ahmad's "Images on my Television", Rizwan Akhtar's "A Photograph", Taufiq Rafat's "Monsoon", Muhammad Athar Tahir's "Mall Road", Bapsi Sidwa's ́Rendering of Habib Jalib's Dastoor", Sujata Bhatt's "What Happened to the Elephant?", Hira Zahid's "My Diary" and Sujata Bhatt's "Search for my Tongue".

Punjab University External Linkages Director Prof Najma Najam, Registrar Prof Muhammad Naeem Khan, faculty members and a large number of students were present on the occasion.

Dr Najma Najam congratulated the organisers on holding such important event. She said students must develop reading habits to get success in their studies and practical lives.

Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan said students were getting away from books because of internet and other electronic sources of knowledge and there was a dire need to create awareness to highlight importance of books. The News

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BNU students theses work at Alhamra
Lahore: The thesis display of Beaconhouse National University (BNU) students opened at BNU and Alhamra Art Gallery simultaneously on Friday.

Students who displayed their works belonged to the Fine Arts Department, Visual Communications Design Department, Textile Design Department and Jewellery Design Department.

Alhamra was one of the venues, as the BNU campus did not have enough space to display the entire thesis.

There were scores of theses on display, but the ones that stood out were by Sadaf Yousaf, Maria Khan, Kashif Akram and Fareeha Ahmed.

Sadaf Yousaf is from the Fine Arts Department. He thesis was called 'Travel Travails'. She had basically recreated her life and everything around it with motifs used in truck art. She said that people were actually the fabricated shells of souls. She said that hypocrisy, which she also called the lubricant that made urban society go, had hit her hard during her travels between Lahore and Gujranwala.

She reflected her newfound academic life away from home (Sadaf is from Gujranwala), Lahoris on campus and so-called personal freedom. She said that somehow the plasticity, superficiality and ideas of freedom inspired her. She said that she had presented the symbolic overspill of her journeys.

Maria Khan is from the Textile Design Department. Her thesis was on the surface design for ceremonial tents or qannats. She said the old chintz prints of the subcontinent had inspired her.

She said that traditional tents, which had a rich history, were lost due to non-patronage in contemporary times. She said that her thesis was an attempt to create fresh design ideas for the lost art of qannat making. The colour combination of her design was mouth watering, as she had used gold, black and pink.

Kashif Akram is also from the Textile Design Department. He said, "My thesis is on the army's role in Pakistani politics. I am not against the army, but I am against the army breaking our political system."

His display showed an army camp with blood, mirrors and a few other paraphernalia.

Fareeha Ahmed is from the Communications Design Department. Her work was on the human psyche and perception of various factors. She designed various brochures, post cards, billboards and hoardings that gave the message of the common man and various activities going on in everyday life. She said, "We need to contemplate whether we want to head towards another constitutional crisis. The judges issue is about the system, not one about 100 individuals."

There were many people at Alhamra who were not interested in the theses and were seen nicking items from the displays. There were no formal complaints, but students were on the lookout for the thieves. Daily Times

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Education department acts to retrieve land
Sahiwal: The district education department has identified 73 schools of diverse grades whose land is illegally occupied by influential people.

It is learnt that the district government is devising a strategy for getting the land of these schools vacated from illegal occupants.

The local education department has collected details of existing infrastructure of 1,306 schools in the district broadly falls in three categories -- primary, elementary and higher secondary.

The kind of details gathered include information regarding the status of schools in terms of the building structure, trees, electricity, boundary wall, drinking water facilities, telephones, staff shortage, toilets and furniture.

EDO (Education) Mrs Naheed Wasif said it was during this exercise that the department learnt that the land of 73 schools had been in illegal possession for several years.

She said only the open areas of these schools were occupied which were being used for varied purposes.

In village schools, the landlords, whose lands were adjacent to the boundary walls of these schools, were using the occupied land for agriculture purpose and as cattle pens, she said.

While the land of schools located in cities and towns had been occupied for residential and business purposes, the EDO said.

She said one such example was the Government High School, Sahiwal, whose 50 kanals of land had been in possession of the Janzbaz Infantry Force for the last 20 years.

"Offices of the Janbaz Infantry Forces are presently located in the old hostel building of the school".

This correspondence visited the area and found residences of Janbaz Force personnel in the building of old school hostel constructed in 1936. Janbaz Force in charge Maj Riaz said that the force was administratively under the DCO and people were trained for the civil defence purpose.

He said: "I have trained five companies having 600 men each. Former DCOs had given this land to the force some 25 years back. I will vacate the place if alternative arrangements are made for my people".

A schoolteacher, requesting anonymity, claimed that former employee of municipal committee Faiz Butt had raised his house on four-kanal land of the MC Primary School A Branch, Gole Chaker.

Similarly, he said, Muhammad Isa had taken an illegal possession of one kanal land of Girls Middle School at Chak 82/5-L.

DCO Muhammad Khichi said that officials of the education department had been assigned the task to get the land of 26 primary schools vacated from the illegal occupiers.

As for the remaining 47 schools, the DCO said that a committee, comprising EDO (education), EDO (revenue) and police officials, had been formed to lay hand on the big fish. Dawn

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