UK visa agency discriminatory policies

UK visa agency accused of discriminating against Pakistanis
London, Nov 05: The British agency responsible for monitoring immigration could be discriminating against Pakistanis in the way it handed out visas, a report by an independent chief inspector said on Thursday.

John Vine, who oversees the work of the UK Border Agency, found that officials were making it more difficult for people to enter Britain from Pakistan than from Gulf states such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai.

"I found that staff were applying higher evidential requirements for entry to the UK to customers from Pakistan," Mr Vine said in a new report.

He added: "I believe this means that the UK Border Agency was not only failing to be open and transparent about their approach towards customers, but also may be discriminating unlawfully in favour of Gulf Cooperation Council customers and against Pakistanis."

The agency should take immediate action to ensure it was not violating the race relations law, he added.

Pakistan is the fourth largest source of applications to enter Britain, but over the past two years decision-making has largely been moved to London because of the deteriorating security situation there.

Immigration minister Damian Green said Britain took a "risk-based approach to decision-making, giving extra scrutiny to those countries where historically fraud has been higher" and was working with Islamabad to stamp out visa abuse.

But he said changes had been introduced since the report was drawn up, including a new, faster service for Pakistani businesses, and added: "The new government is committed to providing a first-class visa service to Pakistan." Afp

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25 faint, rushed to hospital after gas leak in school
Karachi: At least 25 semi-conscious people from a private school were sent to the four local hospitals, including Civil Hospital, Karachi (CHK) for treatment on Thursday. Fortunately, all of them were declared out-of-danger by the concerned hospitals and they were discharged after medical treatment.

The school-going children and female teachers lost consciousness due to the leakage of gas from a power generator installed at a private school. The management of the J.Q. Academy, turned its gas generator on during a spell of load shedding Thursday morning at around 11am. The Academy is located near Abbal Chowk, Qazi Bazzar, Meethadar, the local police said.

As many as 18 students and seven lady teachers reportedly fainted inside the class rooms and other premises of the school.

On receiving the information, the rescue teams and local police rushed to the said school and shifted all affected persons to the nearby hospitals. They were shifted to Bantwa General Hospital, Kutiyana Memon Hospital, CHK, and NICH where victims received medical aid and were discharged after recovery.

The local police said that generator was out of order and recently repaired by the concerned people. Owing to the load shedding, school's management started it for the first time after maintenance.

Gas started leaking from the generator as soon as it was switched on resulting in mass suffocation. The news

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KU Senate, Academic Council applauded
Karachi: The Higher Education Forum (HEF) of the Teachers Association Pakistan held a reception ceremony Thursday in honour of the successful members of University of Karachi (KU) Senate and Academic Council at a local hotel. HEF chief Prof Mazhar Hussain congratulated the newly elected members and said that all the candidates of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) succeeded due to the appropriate planning by the SPLA. Head of Arabic Dept Prof Dr Ishaq Mansori presented shields to the successful members. Daily times

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Workshop held on annual school census data
Karachi: The Reform Support Unit (RSU) of Sindh Education Management Information System (EMIS) cell organised a one-day workshop on the use of annual school census (ASC) data at local hotel on Thursday.

All executive district officers, education and district officers of education department, Sindh were invited to attend the workshop. The session was aimed at initiating a discussion with key-stakeholders on how ASC and other data could be made part of viable EMIS-systems at province and district level.

The data collected from districts through the ASC is the main source of information for Sindh education sector (planning and management) and also for the public finance (planning and budgeting), speakers informed the participants. The news

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Teachers protest delay in grant of allowance
Hyderabad: A large number of government secondary teachers staged a demonstration outside the press club here on Thursday in protest against inordinate delay in granting timescale allowance to them.

Under the banner of the Government Secondary Teachers Association, they were raising slogans against the district administration, carrying banners and placards.

Speaking on the occasion, district president of the association Zamir Khan said that timescale cases had been pending in the DCO's office for over a month, but no orders were being passed. He claimed that secondary teachers of other districts had been given timescale, but the Hyderabad district administration was delaying the matter.

He warned that if the timescale was not given to secondary school teachers, they would stage a sit-in outside the office of the DCO on Nov 11 that would continue till acceptance of their demand. Dawn

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