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Sword hangs on HEC foreign scholars

HEC Foreign Scholarship Scheme. Sword hangs on HEC foreign scholars
Islamabad, Nov 15: Lack of foresight on the part of authorities concerned has put the future of thousands of overseas Pakistani students on stake.

Authentic sources have revealed that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has not submitted the current dues of the students studying abroad under the HEC Foreign Scholarship Scheme.
A student studying under HEC foreign programme in a western country, maintained that he had been sent notice by the university administration that his dues for the current semester had not been paid. He said that he contacted officials of the Commission, who, assured him of paying the dues shortly and directed him to continue studies.

Another student also informed this scribe via email that his university, too, had sent him a notice regarding non-payment of dues.

When contacted, a senior official of HEC explained that though the Commission was facing difficulty in paying dues to foreign universities due to paucity of required funds but they had negotiated the matter with the respective universities and had solved the problem partially. He said that funds for the next six months were being transferred from HEC to the said universities. However, he said, that continuity of the foreign programme was subjected to proper availability of required funds.

He said that more than 2500 students are enrolled in these foreign institutes in different countries like USA, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Austria, Romania and many other countries across the globe.

To a query, he replied that government has assured to release more funds to HEC to reduce the miseries of Pakistani students studying abroad. However, in case of any unpleasant situation, future of only those students would be at compromised that were studying under 'Universities Scholarship Scheme'. "But students that are studying under 'HEC Scholarship Scheme' would complete their tenure successfully", he claimed.

"Owing to present financial crisis in the country, HEC could not pay dues of the students in time. But it does not mean that we are not paying dues," he said, adding, "At every cost HEC would provide funds to the students that already studying under the scholarship scheme in different universities within the country or abroad", he assured.

He further said that due to dollar conversion, HEC was bearing Rs 2 billion deficit, as HEC was paying dues of Pakistani students to the foreign institutes in dollars. "Whatever the situation is , HEC with the cooperation of government, would protect Pakistani students throughout their study period", he pledged.

In response to another query, he noted that the country was passing through a tough phase of its history, as the financial crunch had badly affected every sector, including the HEC. He was of the view that government would soon overcome all problems. The Nation

Your Comments
"Well, I just want to know the status of Overseas Scholarship Scheme Phase 2, Batch 3 in which recently students have been awarded scholarships to advanced countries like USA,UK, Australia etc. But these students havent yet commenced their studies abroad and still going through the process of admission. These students have received the final scholarship award letters though."
Name: Muhammad Akbar Shahid
City, Country: Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan

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Cambridge fellowship for Aitzaz
London: Aitzaz Ahsan, a leading Pakistani lawyer and politician, has been selected for an honorary fellowship by Downing College, University of Cambridge.

An alumnus of the college, Ahsan studied law at Downing in the 1960s, and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1967.

After his return to Pakistan, he developed an internationally respected legal practice while also pursuing political career as a member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). He was the Leader of Opposition in the Senate from 1994-1999.

Mr Ahsan has been a leading advocate of human rights and the rule of law and defended in the court two former prime ministers - Benazir Bhutto of the PPP and Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N.

He was a founder member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and his writings have contributed to scholarship on Pakistan and democracy.

Mr Ahsan is the author of 'The Indus Saga' and also 'Divided by Democracy', written with Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics.

A university release said that Master and Fellows of Downing College, in honouring the achievements of Mr Ahsan and his contribution to Pakistan, hoped that the chief justice would be reinstated and the rule of law would be re-established in the country. Dawn

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