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Punjab, Sindh educational institutions reopening

Educational institutions reopen in Punjab, Sindh
Lahore, Oct 27: Most of the schools across Punjab, Sindh and the federal capital have reopened, a private TV channel reported on Monday. All educational institutions nationwide were closed following a suicide attack on the International Islamic University, Islamabad on October 20.

Meanwhile, schools in the NWFP are scheduled to reopen on November 2 and those in Balochistan would remain closed for another three days to mourn the assassination of provincial education minister Shafiq Ahmad Khan, the channel reported. Only 50 percent of schools were reopened in Faisalabad on Monday, the channel reported.

Separately, a University of Peshawar (UoP) official said the NWFP universities would reopen tomorrow (Wednesday). UoP Registrar Shireenzada Khattak said all public and private sector universities would reopen on October 28. He said NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani chaired a meeting of the vice-chancellors (VCs) of all provincial universities in which it was decided that all universities would reopen on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a UoP spokesman said that the VCs of the UoP, the University of Engineering and Technology, the Islamia College University and the University of Agriculture had prepared a plan to enhance security arrangements on the campus.

Separately, the Private Schools Association in Swat announced to close schools following a warning by the district administration and Swat Board. Earlier, the association had announced to open schools on October 26. Daily times

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225 schools closed over poor security
Lahore: Security threat on schools continued to loom large as most of the campuses that opened after a week break on Monday could not take effective security measures.

Finding security inadequate, the government forced the administrations of 225 private schools to close their schools that had opened on Monday, while a number of schools were issued warning to upgrade security or face closure.

The police got closed 97 schools in Iqbal Town division for six days, while the Model Town division closed 85 schools. Twenty-seven institutions were closed in the Cantonment division, 12 in the Civil Lines division, three in the Sadar division and one in the City division.

Iqbal Town division SP Ali Nasir Rizvi said that all Punjab Group of Colleges campuses and American Lycetuff School's 11 branches had been closed for not fulfilling security arrangements.

The Forman Christian College and National College of Arts would reopen on Oct 29 and Nov 1. The FAST National University, University of South Asia, University of Central Punjab and some branches of Beaconhouse, Lahore Grammar School and City School remained closed. A majority of parents opted not to send their children to schools.

The government had asked educational institution administrations to fortify boundary walls, install barbed wires on them, ensure single entry and exit points under a strict security control, use metal detectors, install walk-through security gates and CCTV cameras as well as issue advisories to drivers and conductors of their buses to be alert during travel.

Some parents also said that the management of Beaconhouse Schools and Laural Bank Public School, Baghbanpura, branch had sent notices to parents asking them to pay Rs200 and Rs100 for security on their campuses. A father of a student studying at Laural Bank School said the school management had asked for Rs100 for security but did not say whether it would ensure provision of fool-proof security.

"Will the parents be able to sue those schools' managements, who are additionally charging parents, if any untoward incident happens and causes damage?" asked one parent. A man who introduced himself as Javed said that his daughter who studied at the Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam College, Garden Town, went to the college to find that only an over 60 years of age watchman was deployed at the gate. He quoted his daughter saying that when she asked her teacher that why no security measures were taken, the teacher replied that any girl died in a terrorist attack would be called 'shaheed' or martyr.

Another parent demanded that the government deployed policemen or ex-servicemen to provide security to schools. Various private schools' officials said that they were upgrading security arrangements along the lines of government instructions but they were facing shortage of armed and trained guards and security gadgets such as metal detectors, walk-through gates and CCTV cameras. They said the security guards' monthly charges had almost been doubled, while other security gadgets prices had also risen.

While the government is focusing on private schools and colleges, it has given no attention to public schools. Punjab Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema said the universities and autonomous colleges had taken security measures, while other colleges were lagging behind in adopting measures due to financial constraints. He said the government was now releasing funds so that all colleges could strengthen their security arrangement.

He said attention was being focused on big colleges in urban areas as well as co-education institutions. He agreed that security arrangements must be taken so that parents and students must feel a sense of security. In the Punjab University, Resident Officer-I Shahid Gul issued a circular on the intelligence provided by Iqbal Town division SP Ali Nasir Rizvi that a Corolla car had entered the New Campus having explosives material packed in its doors. He said this information was circulated through a pamphlet for awareness among the people.

Mr Gul said the university had just two entrance/exit points, where security guards scanned and frisked vehicles and people. He said the university had also launched a shuttle service from New Campus to hostel area for the convenience of boarders from 7am to 9.30pm. Mr Gul said a student group was resisting security measures. He said there were reports of small skirmishes between security guards and students over security measures. He said the students group also asked some labourers and masons to go, who were hired by the university to construct walls around hostels to prevent easy access to hostels area. They also refilled the dug up space. Dawn

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GCU World Digital Library member
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU), Lahore, has become member of the World Digital Library (WDL), an international digital library being operated by the United States Library of Congress and the UNESCO. According to a press statement, GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Khalid Aftab and Librarian of Congress James H Billington have inked a memorandum of understating (MoU). The GCU, Lahore, is the only university of Pakistan which become member of the WDL. The WDL is an online library which is in multilingual format and has significant primary material from countries and cultures around the world. The news

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PU teacher won US Scholarship
Lahore: Punjab University College of Information Technology (PUCIT) Assistant Professor Muhammad Ali have been selected as principal candidate for the Fullbright PhD Scholarship and he would go United States for doing PhD in the Fall 2010. Mr. Ali says it would not have been possible without motivation of PUCIT Principal Dr Mansoor Sarwar to improve academic level of the College's faculty.

The Principal has congratulated the assistant professor terming this achievement a milestone in his (Mr. Ali's) professional career. I believe that no PUCIT graduate or faculty member has achieved this distinction before and it speaks of Mr. Ali's academic and intellectual caliber. Punjab University VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has facilitated Mr Ali as PU has a new member in the Fulbright scholars' elite group, which the VC himself is a member of.

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Students rally against IIUI blasts
Gujrat: Scores of students of the University of Gujrat staged a rally and held a demonstration on Monday against a terrorist attack on the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). The rally started from the academic block of the Hafiz Hayat campus and marched along the university premises. The students were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against terrorism.

A number of female students also participated in the rally which was addressed by vice-chancellor Dr Nizamuddin. The VC said all segments of society were unanimous against terrorism. He asked the students to play their role in promoting peace. Some students also spoke at the occasion. Dawn

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31 teachers suspended
Mirpurkhas: DO Elementary Abdul Jalil Lashari paid surprise visits to different middle and primary schools and suspended 31 absent lady teachers. Those suspended include Kausar Sultana, Fatima, Fahmida, Razia, Bushra, Noreen Fatima, Tasleem Manzoor, Zubaida, Roshna, Gazala Kausar, Farzana and Zaibunissa. The DO said that action against the absent teachers was taken in accordance with Ordinance 2000 and a report has been sent to EDO Education Abdul Majeed. PPI

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Ulema criticised crackdown on seminaries
Gujranwala: Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia Pakistan Secretary-General Maulana Hanif Jalandhari criticised the government on Monday for its crackdown on seminaries or madaris and taking some students into custody for interrogation in Tatlay and other places.

At a session of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Jamaat Ahle Sunnah at Sheranwala Bagh mosque, Mr Jalandhari called the raids a violation of an accord between the federal government and Wafaqul Madaris and said the issue would be raised with the Interior Ministry. He said madaris were the fort of Islam functioning in accordance with the law. He said ulema were law-abiding people and they condemned terrorism. The government should consult Wafaqul Madaris before any crackdown on madaris.

Later, the session made a committee of ulema which would meet the commissioner and deputy inspector general to discuss the crackdown by intelligence agencies and police.

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Two students died on road
Sheikhupura: Two school students were killed when a speeding bus knocked them down on Narowal Road near Addullahpur stop here on Monday. Reports said Ali Raza, 8, and Israr, 9, were waiting for a bus when the incident happened. They were taken to a hospital where doctors pronounced them dead. Dawn

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