Government urged to repay visa fees to Pakistani students
London, Nov 10: The Government has been urged to repay fees to students from Pakistan who have missed taking up university places in the UK because of visa delays.
Labour peer Lord Ahmed's call followed a promise from Home Secretary Alan Johnson in October that waiting times for visas for Pakistanis, which are now issued from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, would be cut from two months to 15 days.
Lord Ahmed demanded at question time: "How many Pakistani students have missed their university deadlines and have lost their fees and scholarships due to the backlogs and delays in Abu Dhabi?
"How many people are waiting for visa endorsements in Islamabad after winning their appeals in British courts in the last six months?
"Will the Government refund fees for all the victims of our failure who have either missed their deadlines or medical check-ups, university courses, family weddings and professional jobs?"
Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead said he did not know the exact number of students who had missed their deadlines. He said there had been "delays in the visa operation in Pakistan particularly in issuing visas resulting from successful appeal decisions" and "some applicants have been inconvenienced as a result".
He said: "The United Kingdom has a close and important relationship with Pakistan and during the Home Secretary's recent visit to Pakistan he assured the government that the visa operation is a priority and committed to reducing processing times to meet published service standards by November."
And he added: "There are 10,000 students (from Pakistan) currently studying in the UK and in the first nine months of this year just under 8,000 student visas were issued.
"In relation to those appeals, the team working in Abu Dhabi, which is fully set up now, cleared over 4,000 cases in five weeks in September and October and we will continue at that pace, so we are rapidly getting up to speed on this." The newsYour Comments
GCUF reopened, 22 booked for 'disrupting university peace
Faisalabad: The Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) administration has announced reopening of the academia after registration of a case against 22 students protesting high hostel dues and seeking action against lady hostel warden for 'misbehaving' with female students.
According to a notification issued by Vice-chancellor Dr Shahid Mehboob, the GCUF educational activities will resume from Tuesday (today). The varsity was closed six days back after massive student protests.
Meanwhile, Gulberg police registered a case against the GCUF Islami Jamiat Talaba nazim Rana Zahid and former nazim Tanvir Wains, besides 20 others on charges of disrupting academic peace at the varsity, damaging its property and holding the faculty hostage during protest on Nov 4.
The police brought section 147,148, 342, 427, 452 and 506 against the students, however, no arrest had been made so far.
Varsity Security Officer Malik Ghulam Rasool in his application said Rana Zahid and Tanvir, along with their 15-20 accomplices entered the campus by scaling varsity walls.
He said the 'intruders' who were no more varsity students, had broken the main gate of the Takbir Block and locked the faculty, including Dr Masood, Dr Mubashir Niaz, Dr Hasan, Abdul Jabbar, and Dr Munir in the building.
The official said the accused also chanted slogans against the faculty, threatened them with dire consequences and used inappropriate language against the teachers.
Sources said the administration had got registered a case against the protesters only to put pressure on students so that they could be barred from holding demonstration in future.
GCUF spokesperson Salma Umber said during closure of the academia the management had placed stringent security measures for safety of students. She said surveillance cameras had been installed, besides erecting cemented barriers at the varsity.
An official requesting anonymity said the varsity situation was going from bad to worse as the students were not ready to budge on their demands. He said the closure of the academia had nothing to do with the security issue.
Some students seeking anonymity said they would resume their protest shortly against the administration as the vice-chancellor had got registered a case against innocent students.
They said no action had yet been taken against the lady hostel warden who allegedly misbehaved with the female students.
They said the district nazim should intervene in the issue as he did on Nov 4 and ensure action, as he promised, against the hostel warden.
The nazim should also force administration to withdraw, what students said, a false case. Dawn
New centre of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan
Lahore: College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan's (CPSP) Regional Centre in Abbotabad has been opened. CPSP President Prof Zafarullah Chaudhry inaugurated the centre on Monday.
CPSP President, addressing the fellows and supervisors, mentioned that all CPSP regional centres had been linked through video conference system. Presently, he said the research workshops were being held simultaneously at regional centres of Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad through this latest technology.
The 11,000 registered postgraduate doctors avail the facility of video conference at these regional centres. In this way, he said they attended the training course without traveling to other cities. In the tenure of present council, new centres with state-of-the-art facilities have been completed at Quetta and Hyderabad.
Iqbal's philosophy still relevant
Lahore: Speakers at a seminar on 'Iqbal and the Modern World' said on Monday that the relevance of Iqbaliat is not restricted by time or space and his ideology of self-reliance and sovereignty should be beacons of light for the nation.
The seminar was organised by the Iqbal Academy in collaboration with the Mir Khalilur Rahman Memorial Society (MKRMS) at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Sunday. The seminar was presided over by Dr Javed Iqbal and renowned scholar and defence analyst Zaid Hamid and religious scholar Dr Israr spoke on the occasion. Inaugurating the proceedings, the speakers said that only the ideology of Iqbal could bring about a revolution in our ranks.
They stressed the need to spread the principles and character defined in Iqbal's poetry in the youth of the country so that they could form a sovereign society.Zaid Hamid said the current generation was suffering from the lack of confidence and faith in their values and culture which was diverging them to adopt the western culture and norms.
He said Iqbal's poetry and ideology were the most potent catalyst to revive the lost faith and confidence of our youth and to convince them that our religious principles were the true guideline to not only lead a successful life but to be the most superior nation. He said the current confused state of mind of our generation was due to the wrongdoings of the preceding generations who failed to uphold the ideology and philosophy of Islam.
He said Iqbal's poetry was an amazing amalgamation of religious principles, social psychology and political awareness. Dr Israr said the current situation of the Muslims could be summed up through Allama Iqbal's poem, 'Iblees Ki Majlis-e-Shura' which clearly explained that there was little that the Satan had to do to disrupt our ranks as we were so divided through colour, caste, creed and sects. He said democracy was not un-Islamic but the blend of capitalism which was the usual mode of governance was in direct conflict with the Islamic principles.
Iqbal Academy Pakistan Director Muhammad Suheyl Umar said the Iqbal Academy was set up to promote and disseminate the study and understanding of the works and teachings of Allama Iqbal.
He said the academy was trying its best to further the teachings of Iqbal, adding that the academy awarded prizes, rewards and donations to authors who, in the opinion of the academy, had made contributions to the study of the works and teachings of Iqbal. He said modern technology was being used to spread the message of Iqbal to the new generation.
MKRMS Chairman Wasif Nagi thanked the speakers for their enlightening speeches and proposed that Iqbaliat should be incorporated as a compulsory subject at the school and college levels. Later, the speakers answered the questions asked by the audience and Iqbal Academy Director Muhammad Suheyl Umar presented shields and souvenirs to the speakers. The news
Aitcheson college security increased
Lahore: Security in and around the historic educational institution of the sub-continent "Aitchison College", has been hightened in the wake of recent terror wave in the country. In a circular issued to all students by Muhammad Tahir, Headmaster of Prep section of the college, said that recent incidents of terrorism in the country precautionery measures are being taken by the college to ensure the safty of teachers and students. He said that entry in the college would be allowed only to cars carrying less than three boys. APP
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