HEC confirms Monticello University is fake

HEC confirms Monticello University is not an accredited university in the US
Islamabad, Nov 17: The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, the prime regulatory body for higher education in the country, has formally confirmed that the Monticello University, which had issued a doctorate degree to PPP Minister Babar Awan, is not an accredited university in the US.
It was never listed amongst the accredited institutions of post-secondary education in the US since 1994-95, the HEC said when asked to comment on the degree of Awan. Babar Awan, however, is of the firm opinion that he has a valid Ph.D degree and that he would continue using the title of "Dr" with him name.

Earlier, the United States Educational Foundation had clearly stated that the university was never accredited to offer any degree program. After the publication of The News story last Wednesday, which raised doubts about the minister's doctorate degree, Awan said on Friday last, while showing his Monticello degree to a staffer of this newspaper, that according to the report the said university was closed in 2000 while he got his degree in 1997.

To a question, the HEC said, "As per information contained in various editions of the Directory of Accredited Institutions of Post Secondary Education published by the American Council on Education after 1994-95, the said university is not listed."

To another question whether a Ph.D degree from the Monticello University was recognised by the HEC, the government authority said, "The Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, recognizes Ph.D degrees awarded by accredited/chartered universities in the USA."

The minister, who admits to have done his Ph.D from the University of Monticello, USA, in 1997-98 through its distant learning program, however, while talking to this correspondent last week insisted that his Ph.D was valid.

But the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan is of the view that the "fraud" university was closed down in 2000 and was also fined US$1.7 million for fooling innumerable international aspirants of different degree programmes. The News

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Age limit for CSS may not be raised
Islamabad: The government appears reluctant to accept a recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat to increase the upper age-limit of candidates applying for Central Superior Services (CSS) from 28 to 30 years.

In April this year, the committee headed by Senator Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi asked the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) to extend the age limit because thousands of people could not appear in the competitive examination due the age bar.

However, according to sources in the establishment division, there is no possibility of age relaxation, at least for the CSS-2009.

The upper-age limit for the CSS used to be 30 years, but it was reduced to 28 years by the Musharraf government.

Candidates from rural areas have been demanding the increase in the upper age-limit from 30 to 32 years, arguing that by the time they complete their education it is difficult for them to prepare adequately for the competitive examination.

The FPSC is also facing shortage of suitable candidates for the superior services jobs. In 2007, the Establishment Division reported 299 vacancies in various occupational groups, but the commission could only find 189 suitable candidates, and 110 seats remained vacant to be filled this year. Dawn

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Graduation ceremony of three courses held at PAF Academy
Risalpur: The graduation ceremony of three courses 38 A and SD, 94 Accts and 101 Non GD was held at PAF Academy Risalpur on Saturday, said a PAF press release Air Marshal Hifazat Ullah Khan, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Personnel), Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest on the occasion. In his address the Chief Guest felicitated all graduating cadets for achieving this milestone in their lives and commended Academy Staff for their efforts in imparting quality training to the cadets.

He said "I would also advise you to persevere in your endeavours to channel your energies of mind and heart to improve your efficiency and skills and consequently make significant contribution towards the operational preparedness of Pakistan Air Force.

The PAF demands nothing less than excellence and eminence from each one of you. The tremendous pace of development in military technology makes it obligatory on you to excel in your profession. You must not leave any stone unturned in order to keep pace with the modern technologies.

Remember there are no shortcuts to professional excellence. It can be achieved only through extensive studies and appropriate application of what you have learnt. It is only through your dedicated efforts and commitment that you can excel and prosper in your profession".

The ceremony included the award of branch insignia to the graduating cadets and trophies to the winners.

They also took a pledge of honour on this occasion that they would perform their duties with utmost dedication and sincerity.

Trophy for Overall Best Performance in 101th Non GD course was awarded to Officer Cadet Khawar Hayyat where as in 38th A and SD Short Course Aviation Cadet Sarfraz Ahmed won the trophy.

Earlier, on his arrival, Air Vice Marshal M. Safdar Khan, Air Officer Commanding PAF Academy Risalpur, received the Chief Guest. Besides high ranking civil and military officials, parents of graduating cadets attended the ceremony. App

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Torture of GCUF guard:12 booked
Faisalabad: Police on Saturday registered a case against a dozen boys, including two students of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), who tortured a Government College University security guard during their demonstration for reinstatement of an official.

Nearly two-dozen 'outsiders' led by Mudassar, believed to be the office-bearer of Inqlabi Council of UAF, held a demonstration outside the university and demanded reinstatement of the sacked director (projects & campus development), Muhammad Latif. A few of them tried to enter the premises by force. Security guard Muhammad Riaz intercepted them and asked for their identification.

The query led to an exchange of hot words and protesters thrashed Riaz. They dispersed after some security officials came to rescue their colleague.

A few students of the GCUF intermediate section were also conspicuous in the protest arranged by outsiders.

GCUF vice-chancellor Dr Arif Ali Zaidi following the recommendation of a committee had terminated the services of Mr Latif, director (finance) Safdar Mian, and senior audit officer M Yaqoob on Nov 11.

All three were shown the door when the inquiry team found the officials guilty of millions of rupees embezzlement and recommended their termination. It is pertinent to mention here that Academic Staff Association president Mudassar Ahmed addressing a meeting of the action committee alleged that the principal (intermediate section) and a physical education lecturer had threatened the VC with dire consequences. Following the life threats, the VC tendered his resignation a couple of days ago.

University sources said the sacked officials fielded `outsiders', some of them from the UAF, to sabotage peace of the academia. However, they said the immediate action by the security force foiled their bid.

They said some students from the intermediate section could be nominated in the case.

Following the incident, the university administration submitted an application with the Gulberg police station for registration of a case.

Police said a case had been registered against 12 `troublemakers', including two nominated accused Mudassar and Iftikhar.

Gulberg circle supervisory police officer DSP Aamir Mushtaq said two accused had been arrested and investigation was under way to arrest the remaining troublemakers. Dawn

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Student groups flex muscles for MAO 'control'
Lahore: The forces, which had turned Government Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College a hotbed of student violence for years are once again flexing their muscles to damage the "somewhat remaining" peaceful academic environment of this historic institution.

The college had remained a stronghold of various student organisations in past but unfortunately, instead of uplifting its image and indulging in pro-student and pro-education activities, these groups left no stone unturned to plunder its peaceful academic environment.

Before the February 2008 elections the MAO College was "possessed" by Muslim Students Federation (MSF-Q); however, the student organisation fled as soon as the PML-N came into power in the province. Though incidents of violence remained quite few in the MSF-Q "regime" in the college, corrupt mafia touched its peak. A number of incidents regarding illegal admissions, especially, in ICom and BCom classes were reported according to which fines were also imposed on the college by the Punjab University (PU) for admitting more students than allowed.

Soon after the departure of MSF-Q from MAO College, some unwanted elements became active to get "control" over the institution once again for their vested interests. In this connection, an attempt was made in April this year when dozens of armed men entered the college and created panic among the students, teachers and employees by resorting to aerial firing. They, however, succeeded to vanish from the scene as soon as police arrived.

Last week, another incident of violence took place at MAO College in which some students clashed with each other leaving many injured. Students belonging to different organisations started fighting while they were discussing future "plan of action" regarding control over the college. It is further learnt that some outsiders were also involved in the incident.

The college teachers and students believe that the government should not let any student organisation to rule the institution. They said if the government was committed to implement its decision about restoration of student unions, it should allow any organisation to remain in the college only after elections of the student unions. A senior faculty member of the college said history of student politics had never been encouraging at the MAO College, adding that activists of various student organisations had always proved themselves to be "parasites".

He further said there was no dearth of talent in the college, adding it only needed focused attention of the government to get rid of outsider, unwanted and political elements. It is worth mentioning here that Asif Raza of the MAO College had secured third position with 904 marks in the Commerce group (among boys) in Intermediate Annual Examination 2008 held under the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore.

For many years, the college's Psychology Department students achieved top positions in postgraduate level exams held under the Punjab University.

The performance of its students in sports also merits a mention since the college has produced many cricketers and hockey players who either played or are still playing for national teams.

Academic circles are also very critical of the developments taking place at the MAO College in connection with control of student organisations, saying such incidents should be an eye-opener for the authorities concerned.

They have urged the government to take measures for ensuring peaceful academic campus for the college students. They believe peaceful academic environment is the right of every student, saying innocent learners should not be deprived of this right at any cost. The News

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