IJT decides to go with PU | No Shia boarders | BSc Home Eco exam

Book fair: IJT decides to go with PU admin
Lahore, May 19, 2008: Deciding not to 'frighten' the Punjab University higher-ups by announcing a new date of book fair, the Islami Jamiat Tulaba has offered a 'conditional' support to the administration-backed event scheduled from May 27 to 29.

The book fair remained a bone of contention between the PU administration and the IJT this year too, making an educational event a political activity. The IJT had announced holding a three-day book fair last week and the administration vowed to resist it.

It is for first time the PU, which is one of the oldest universities in Asia, had to be closed for four days and the administration had to evict boarders to thwart an event like book fair, inviting criticism from a cross-section of society.

PU IJT Nazim Zahid Naveed said that after the varsity administration's decision to hold book fair on May 27-29, the Jamiat had decided not to go for a separate one. He said: "The PU students having association with the IJT would facilitate the administration in holding the event provided it made them part of the programme."

Though the varsity had earlier 'officially' announced that it would involve the representatives of "all students' wings" in the event, it had to go back on its word after some of the participants in the deans' committee meeting last week expressed reservations.

Zahid Naveed said the IJT had been organising the fair at the varsity for the last 20 years and it was a 'positive' activity and nobody should have objection to it. He said the IJT had supported the appointment of a 'teacher-VC' because it had faced hard time during the last eight-year tenure of a retired military officer.

"Now the VC who is from the teachers' community has been acting like his predecessor by following his policies against the promotion of healthy co-curricular activities on the campus," he said and added a remark: "hearts can't be won through force".

A senior teacher said that the teachers were not happy the way the administration dealt with the issue. He said most of the deans were 'not consulted' before taking the decision of such an important nature. "Prior to the start of various postgraduation examinations the waste of one full academic week is also a serious cause of concern for both students and teachers," he added. Dawn

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VC's decision to hold book fair on May 27 criticised
Lahore: The Punjab University vice-chancellor's decision to organize a book fair on May 27 is being seen by many stakeholders as an "imprudent" and "unwise" decision.

The PU remained closed from May 12 to 15 in order to prevent the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), from organizing a three-day book fair.

Those who oppose the decision say instead of organizing a book fair in an apparent move to answer back a particular group of students, the administration should have taken steps to overcome the academic loss of students due to the closure of varsity.

The PU boarders, especially female students, were worst hit by closure of the university and they had to undergo great ordeal while leaving hostels for their hometowns abruptly with so many unexpected holidays.

The stakeholders further argue there was no academic activity for a whole week. The varsity opened on Friday, which was a half day, and the next day, Saturday was again a holiday.

They added the prevailing hot weather was not suitable for an outdoor activity like book fair, adding the event could be organized with better arrangements in a relatively better weather conditions in the coming months.

A number of PU students expressed concerns in that sayinh another controversy could erupt over the varsity's own Kitab Mela.

"Is there any guarantee Jamiat would not interfere in the book fair to be organized by PU administration on May 27?" said a student.

Another controversy over PU book fair occurred in 2006 when the then administration led by VC Lt Gen (r) Arshad Mahmood had failed to stop Jamiat activists from virtually "hijacking" the event despite police deployment in and outside the varsity's New Campus. However, later the administration expelled over a dozen students for "challenging" its writ and varsity Syndicate decided not to allow any student group to organize any event without its permission.

In 2007, no Kitab Mela was held as the administration, foreseeing the same controversy, successfully managed to adjust annual summer break giving no time to Jamiat to hold its event.A senior PU teacher, on condition of anonymity, said PU Registrar had recently circulated a letter among varsity's Deans, Chairmen, Directors and Principals informing them that an international book fair would be held in October 2008.

What had compelled the administration to organize the event on May 27, was difficult to understand, he questioned expressing his apprehension. "There might be some kind of deal between PU authorities and Jamiat". "The students are no more interested in this event and just want a peaceful academic atmosphere", he added. Another teacher said the administration should make all out efforts to compensate academic loss faced by the students instead of keeping itself busy in making arrangements of an event which had earlier caused varsity's closure for almost a week. In a recent meeting with columnists of different newspapers, PU VC Dr Mujahid Kamran said the situation would have been different provided he was not out of country when the issue of Kitab Mela surfaced.

The PU VC, with the help of the varsity's video conference technology, could chair a meeting to get himself briefed over the issue and take a decision in the larger interest of the students, they said. The News

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Shia students not allowed as boarders?
Lahore: Some teachers and administrative officials of the Punjab University (PU) have reportedly been discriminating among students on religious and political grounds, students said.

A PU spokesperson said that the university vice-chancellor (VC) had received an application titled 'Kya Shia hona Jurm Hay' (Is being Shia a crime?) on Friday from Muhammad Ahsan, a student of PU Administrative Sciences Department. He said that the student had complained that the hostel administration was not accommodating him because he was Shia. He said that the student had requested the PU VC to take note of the incident and save the future of students belonging to 'other' sects and religions.

Muhammad Ahsan, who claimed to be the University Students Federation (USF) media secretary, said that the pro-Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) hostel administration was not giving him a room in the hostels. He claimed that he had applied for a room in PU Hostel-17 around 15 days ago, but the administration was not willing to accommodate him. He alleged that hostel clerk Muhammad Shahid told him on Monday that he was not being given a room because he was a Shia. "The clerk told me that the administration does not allot rooms to Shia students," he alleged.

He then approached PU Hall Council Secretary Muhammad Akram, and was allegedly told to hide his identity to get the room. He claimed that PU Hostels -1, -9, -16 and -17 were the headquarters of pro-IJT teachers.

Muhammad Shahid, the hostel clerk, refused to comment on the issue and said that if any student had a problem, he should contact the hostel superintendent.

At daggers drawn: Tahir Khan, a PU student, said that the religious extremism had always been a serious issue at the university. He said that four PU IJT activists were killed in 1994 when some IJT activists had tried to stop Shia students from holding majalis (religious gatherings), which was the beginning of the never-ending conflict between the two groups. He said that hatred for one another had increased at the PU after the revival of student unions.

Haroon Ahmed, another student, alleged that teachers were playing an important role in fanning religious extremism, as most of the department heads and hostel wardens were pro-IJT. He alleged that those teachers had distributed PU funds and scholarships among IJT activists in the past, and had deprived a number of deserving students of their rights.

Doing students' work: A PU teacher said that after the resumption of political activities at the PU, most of the teachers had split students into several groups on the basis of religious beliefs. He said that students were so disturbed due to the extremist policies of the IJT that they were gathering under the banner of USF. He said that due to the students' movement against the Jamiat, IJT activists were not countering such students, and the pro-IJT teachers and clerks were taking care of the matter.

PU Hall Council Secretary Muhammad Akram said that the problem at Hostel-17 was over offering prayers, as it was the centre of Shia students.

PU Public Relations Officer Shabbir Sarwar said that he knew about the application, and that according to the university rules, students would not be treated on the basis of religion and creed. He said that action would be taken against elements damaging the repute and peace of the university.

PU Chairman Hall Council Dr Saeed Ahmed Nagra said, "The university provides equal opportunities and facilities to all its students without any discrimination," he said. He said that the administration would hold an inquiry on Monday to find out facts behind the incident and the people responsible.

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PU to set up cell for verification inquiries
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) Examination Department will set up a separate cell to deal with the inquiries regarding the verification of degrees of Pakistani students and employees obtaining the British visa referred by the British High Commission.

Examination Controller Prof Zahid Karim, British High Commission Third Secretary Tony O' Driscoll and the British High Commission risk assessment officer (UK visa section) made the decision in a meeting on Saturday. Treasurer Abdul Sattar Jajja and Additional Controller Malik Zaheer were also present on the occasion.

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PU to hold BSc Home Eco exam in June
LAHORE(APP): Punjab University will commence annual examination-2008 of B.Sc. Home Economics in June this year. The candidates can submit their examination forms with single fee till May 21 and with double fee till May 24, 2008. B.Sc. Home Economics Ist Year and 3rd Year examination will commence from June 3, while 2nd Year and 4th Year from June 4, 2008.

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GCU students require music department
Lahore: Despite producing a number of renowned singers, the Government College University (GCU) Music Society still does not have professional music teachers and a proper music education system.

Students have expressed their need for a fully-fledged musicology department like that at the Punjab University, as the majority of them are interested in learning music.

More than 400 Ravians are associated with the Dr Nazir Ahmed Music Society, which was set up in 1957 by GC Geology Department teacher Dr Nazir Ahmed and became a music school in 1981.

Shortage: A number of students visiting the music society said that the facilities being provided there were not sufficient, and that there was shortage of professional teachers for their guidance.

Azhar, a Ravian, said that he had been a member of the music society for the last two years, and that the society was the best music school for students, but due to the lack of professional teachers, students were confined to learning music as a hobby. He said that the society had more than 400 members, which showed that students were interested in learning music. "Students are interested in learning music as a subject, and it only possible if there is a music department at the university," he said.

Another student Muhammad Hamza said that both folk and pop music education was being given at various institutes, but the students of the GCU had been deprived of such facilities. "There is a lot of talent in GCU, but there is no professional teacher to polish and groom the students' talent," he said, adding that there were only two traditional singers guiding the students.

GCU Musical Society President Yasir Mehmood said that weekly concerts were being organised at the GCU, providing students with a chance to display their talent. However, he said that there should be a separate department for music education at the GCU to give better guidance to the studentss.

One of the teachers at the music society Tariq Farani said that in the past, the GCU students used to arrange music programmes by inviting singers, but now they were now only learning music but also performing on campus. "Students are being taught dholak, tabla, flute, harmonium and sitar at the society," he said.

He said that the society had produced renowned singers like Shafqat Ali Khan, Rustam Fateh Ali Khan, Hadiqa Kiyani, Jawad Ahmed, Sharafat Ali Khan, Zahid Farani, Waris Baig, Ali Zafer and Faheem Mazhar. "We are planning to set up a performing arts department at the GCU," he said.

GCU spokesman Muhammad Iqbal Anjum said that music was not considered just a means for entertainment at the GCU, and was being taken as a field of study. He said that music instructors at the university were specialists, and were doing their best to teach music to students.

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Beaconhouse National University students display work
Lahore: Eleven students of the Beaconhouse National University (BNU)'s postgraduate diploma in arts displayed their work at the Alhamra Arts Council on Saturday.

The students have expressed their vision of art in contemporary fashion. The work is an amalgam of texture and design. Sculptures made by a Nepali student, Sanjana Joshi, attracted art enthusiasts. She has used animal skin for her sculptures.

She said, "The diverse sight of various means of transportation in Lahore reminds me of cultural complexity. My work includes covering, hiding, layering, dressing and peeling. Animal skins play an important role in my work."

Ayesha Sultana's work marks symbol patterns as a visual reference from unceasing mobile culture like gas stations. She said, "These are standardised buildings whose very existence is generated by vehicles that have become an integral part of our surroundings," she said.

The artists have experimented with new patterns of art. The work is not traditional, yet interesting.

Maureen Korp, a BNU teacher, said the work was not 'flat' as it dealt with several themes and patterns. She said the work was not about bringing peace between two countries, but it could help bring people closer. She praised the work for its richness and depth.

BNU School of Visual Arts Dean Saleema Hashmi said, "The BNU started postgraduate diploma in art education in 2007 to equip young artists with skills. Our young teachers deserve not only to realise their potential, but to help others grow under their aegis."

The exhibition will continue till May 21. Daily Times

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